Dispatches from Day One on the Green Line
Follow along as MPR News reporter Jon Collins tells the stories along the tracks, from St. Paul to Minneapolis.
Photo by Judy Griesedieck for MPR News
The Green Line has survived two gubernatorial vetoes, three lawsuits and frustration from business owners -- so stormy weather was not about to deter supporters from celebrating the day the trains started running.
Downtown St. Paul looked a little bit like St. Patrick's Day Saturday as transit backers wore green to celebrate the launch.
All along the tracks, which connect St. Paul and Minneapolis, St. Paul "royalty," artists, families, protesters, policitians, musicians, business owners and curious onlookers converged on the nearly $1 billion project, braving rain and wind and a chilly summer Saturday to encounter the train where it connects the Twin Cities.
Metro Transit officials are hoping the new, 24-hour line will attract ridership to help cover the $35 million in preliminary operating costs in 2015. They estimate people will ride the Green Line 27,500 times each weekday in the first year, and more than 40,000 times a day by 2030.
Saturday alone, when the rides were free and the trains were new, Metro Transit says visitors took 45,000 rides through the Green Line's first eight hours of service.