The Northstar Corridor Development Authority (NCDA) June 3 approved reallocating service hours on the Northstar Link Commuter Bus to allow weekend service, including for 12 special Minnesota Twins games, and added a stop in Becker for all trips.
The changes, coming about six months after service began in Nov. 2009, reflect customer feedback and the NCDA’s goal to finish train service to St. Cloud, according to Sherburne County Commissioner Felix Schmiesing, chair of the NCDA extension efforts.
“We started the bus service to demonstrate the demand during peak travel times, Monday through Friday, and to help make the case to extend rail service from Big Lake to St. Cloud, as it was originally envisioned,” Commissioner Schmiesing said. “A stop in Becker is part of the vision for buses today and trains in the future.
“We’re hearing from folks that they’d like to use the bus service on weekends, in particular to take advantage of the train service available for many Twins games,” Commissioner Schmiesing said.
Beginning Saturday, June 12, the Link will add a stop in Becker at the city parking lot north of Highway 10 on 1st St. NE at Willow St., next to Coffee Cup Café. The cost to ride is $1, seven days a week, to either St. Cloud or Big Lake.
The new schedule is available at www.CatchTheLink.com or by calling 877-LINK-010 (877-546-5010).
There are a few key schedule changes affecting travel between St. Cloud and Big Lake. The first bus departure time, Monday-Friday, will be 5 a.m., instead of 4:15 a.m., from the St. Cloud park and ride at 1919 Lincoln Ave SE. The first stop in Becker will be at 5:25 a.m. with arrival at the Northstar train station in Big Lake at 5:40 a.m. allowing 11 minutes to catch the 5:51 a.m. Northstar train to downtown Minneapolis. Unaffected are the runs leaving St. Cloud at 6 and 6:30 a.m. The afternoon schedule remains the same.
Two new round trips on weekends will start Saturday, June 12. The cost to ride the Link one way between St. Cloud and Big Lake is $1.50 on Saturdays and Sundays.
The Saturday schedule will connect the Link and the Northstar train leaving Big Lake at 10:23 a.m. and returning at 7:55 p.m. The Sunday bus schedule accommodates the 9:33 a.m. train leaving Big Lake and the 5:44 p.m. returning train, following Saturday’s route. For schedule details, go to www.CatchTheLink.com or call 877-LINK-010 (877-546-5010).
Special Twins Service
Also new are 12 special bus runs from St. Cloud and Becker for Minnesota Twins games. For Saturday games, a special bus will meet the 1:23 p.m. train on July 3 and 31, Aug. 21, and Sept. 4. Regular bus service will return fans leaving Big Lake at 7:55 p.m.
For Sunday games on June 13, July 18, Aug. 1, 15 and 22, Sept. 5 and 19, and Oct. 3, a special bus will help fans catch the 11:53 a.m. train. Regular bus service will return fans, departing Big Lake at 5:50 p.m.
Metro Transit, in response to tremendous demand for service to Twins games, has increased seating capacity on the train. The usual four-car train has been increased to as many as eight passenger cars per trip to accommodate baseball fans.
Complete Link schedule details are available at www.CatchTheLink.com or by calling 877-LINK-010 (877-546-5010).
About the Northstar Commuter Rail Project
The Northstar Commuter Rail Line, operated by Metro Transit, provides service on the 40-mile segment of existing track along Highways 10 and 47 from Big Lake to downtown Minneapolis. Northstar trains offer commuter service during prime morning and evening week day rush hours, as well as regular weekend service and some special event service.
The Northstar Corridor Development Authority (NCDA) is a joint powers board of 30 governmental entities representing counties, cities, townships and regional railroad authorities along the Northstar Corridor, which covers an 80-mile stretch from downtown Minneapolis to St. Cloud.
For more information about Northstar service, go to www.metrotransit.org/northstar. For more information about the Northstar Link Commuter Bus, which provides coach bus service between St. Cloud and Big Lake and is operated by St. Cloud Metro Bus, go to www.CatchTheLink.com.