More direct travel coming for East Side transit

file photo • Ramsey County traffic engineers have decided to make permanent the three-lane configuration on Maryland Avenue between Johnson Parkway and Payne Avenue. A mill and overlay of the arterial street will be completed in May.

One of the main bus lines connecting St. Paul to the international airport and the Mall of America will be extended through the East Side starting June 9. 

The route currently runs between Union Depot in downtown St. Paul, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and the Mall of America, mostly serving West Seventh Street.

The route will be extended all the way up to the park and ride center adjacent to Maplewood Mall. It will run along East Seventh Street, onto Arcade Street, Maryland Avenue and finally onto White Bear Avenue up to the mall.

Existing bus service on these streets, including routes 61, 64, 74 and 80, will continue to run as normal.

“A large number of customers are transferring to and from Route 54 in downtown St. Paul, primarily from Route 64,” said Drew Kerr, a Metro Transit spokesperson. 

Route 64 is one of the main bus routes through the East Side. “Many of the customers who are transferring to and from Route 54 are East Side residents who use transit to access jobs at the Mall of America and Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.” 

The goal, Kerr said, is to provide more efficient, convenient and reliable one-seat rides with shorter travel times and better connections to the Green and Blue line light rail routes.

Trip frequency will be every 20 minutes during rush hour and every 30 minutes during off-peak hours and on Saturdays. Metro Transit has purchased five additional buses that will be used for the extension.

Kerr said Metro Transit expects ridership along Route 54 to increase from 4,200 average weekday riders to around 6,500 average weekday riders. 

In addition, some bus stops and shelters will receive improvements such as lighting and heating. An additional bus stop has been built at the intersection of Arcade Street and York Avenue. 

The Route 54 bus stop at Terminal 1 at the airport will also be moved due to construction at the terminal. The bus stop currently is near the light rail station, just east of the terminal’s parking ramps. 

An interim stop will be created across from the passenger entrance of Terminal 1 and will be in use until 2020. 

For updates about the extension, go to


– Marjorie Otto can be reached at 651-748-7816 or at Follow her on Twitter at @EastSideM_Otto

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