September 30, 2010 at 9:10 a.m.
The Rush Line Corridor Task Force launches this new service as a one year demonstration project. Route 285 will have four inbound trips in the morning and four outbound in the p.m. You'll catch the coach bus either at Columbus or Forest Lake's new Headwaters government services complex, south of town on Hwy. 61.
There are stops in downtown St. Paul, including Union Depot.
Chisago County Commissioner Ben Montzka serves on the Rush Line Task Force. He said it's critical this new coach bus sees a lot of use. The task force will be looking into how to fund Route 285 after the demonstration year and "We may not keep it if we don't have enough riders," said Montzka. The concept is to have the route included into a regionalized program supported by numerous counties and metro transit programs.
"As a practical matter we (task force) continue to work on improving transit opportunities and review ways to make communities along the corridor more liveable," Montzka added. He said having a transit option may be a viable way to help residents continue to live in Chisago County.
Fares are starting at $3 one-way. Victoria Reinhardt, a Ramsey County Commissioner and head of the Rush Line Task Force, commented that the cooperation of all the member counties is appreciated and partners of the Task Force will be working to see how long term funding for the service can be secured.
Chisago County earmarked $113,000 a few years ago for this route, anticipating it would be approved for a pilot project. Continued funding is not in the 2011 budget, however.
Starting October 18-- departures from the park & ride near Running Aces are at 5:47 a.m. and 6:17 a.m. and 6:47 and 7:17 a.m.
Departures from the headwaters complex south of Forest Lake are shortly after the pickup at Columbus.
See the website rushline.org or check http:/blog.regionalrail.org.
Montzka said after various other projects are completed and additional twin cities lines are running, Chisago County will be connected to an expanding system and travelers will be able to get around, even lacking a vehicle of their own.
The 11 mile $957 million LRT line being built on Washington and University Avenues, (serving the U of M campus) and running between downtown St. Paul and Minneapolis, will connect with the existing Hiawatha Line. Completion for this light rail is 2014.
There will also be Greyhound and other interstate transit based out of the St. Paul depot that the Route 285 riders will be able to connect to.
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