By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Adapting to changes because of COVID-19, Metro Transit has now begun a 40% reduction of service.

Ridership on the metro is down 60% on buses and 90% on trains as Minnesotans who are able continue to social distance and work from home.

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“We’re encouraging people to use the app, don’t do onboard payment. Use the app if possible because then you avoid contact with that fair box,”  said Howie Padilla, Metro Transit Spokesperson.

Riders like Ashley Paulson says this – and boarding from the back of the bus –  keeps people from close contact with the drivers, making sure they stay healthy.

“It seems like everybody is pretty conscious and courteous to kind of keep their personal distance,” said Paulson.

“Please use transit for essential travel only and take action to help prevent the spread of germs,” said Padilla. “If you are going  on a bus and it’s a 40 foot bus and there is more than 10 people on there, maybe think about ‘can I wait for the next bus,'” he said.

Most local bus routes will run at Saturday service levels, while the METRO Blue Line and METRO Green line will operate every 20 minutes throughout the day.

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The Northstar Commuter Rail Line will also operate on a reduced schedule, making two inbound trips to Minneapolis on weekday mornings and two outbound trips in the afternoon. However, the line will not provide service on the weekends.

To check on updated schedules, click here.

This new schedule comes not long after Metro Transit said they would be suspending overnight service from 11 p.m. to 4:30 a.m.

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Metro Transit also closed their Service Centers and Customer Relations Lost & Found on Monday afternoon.

Though service is limited, transit police officers will continue to provide 24-hour service and will be present on buses, trains, and platforms.

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“We understand these changes will create inconveniences, but we also know that we must adapt to adequately address this public health emergency,” said Metro Transit General Manager Wes Kooistra. “I want our riders, our employees and the communities we serve to know that every decision we make is made in the interest of public health.”

Reg Chapman