Metropolitan Council Needs Help Naming Transit System

By Lindsey Seavert, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — San Francisco has BART, Chicago the “El” and in D.C., everyone hops on the Metro, but what about the Twin Cities?

“I don’t know. I just call it the light rail. Is that catchy enough?” said Megan Soper of Bloomington, who rides the light rail several times a week.

The Metropolitan Council says the next stop is a new name.

Metropolitan Transportation Director Arlene McCarthy says with the Central Corridor underway, the growing transit system needs a new brand.

“We hope it becomes common lingo in the region,” said McCarthy.

The Council is looking to the public for the right words. McCarthy says a new name should be short, catchy and should relate to the region.

“This is common around the country and it is exciting because what is demonstrates is our region here is maturing, we have multiple lines where we need to have a simpler easier to communicate naming system,” said McCarthy.

By 2012, it won’t be enough to call it the light rail. The system will also include faster buses, known as bus rapid transit (BRT) service at stations along I-35W South, Cedar Avenue and other high demand corridors.

The Met Council wants both light rail and bus transit services (LRT/BRT) under one name. It won’t replace Metro Transit, but will instead refer to the growing light rail and rapid bus services.

To make it easier, lines like Hiawatha will soon be known by color, just like in other cities.

“The blue line, red line, gold line for example,” said McCarthy. “Hiawatha means something to us, but not the out-of-town traveler.”

She says lines labeled by color will be user-friendly and easier to navigate.

When it comes to a new name, most light rail riders say they just might have to focus their train of thought.

“Oh goodness, I wouldn’t have a good name off the spot. I don’t know,” said Soper.

“As far as a cute catchy name, I have to think about that one,” said Linda Whittmer, of Apple Valley.

Whatever the winning name, the Met council hopes the destination is the future.

So far, around 50 ideas have been submitted.

The Met Council says those who are interested can submit their ideas here until March 18.


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