Will fewer light-rail vehicles improve customer experience? Metro Transit is testing it out.

July 13, 2022
The program that will take effect this summer will examine if a reduced number of light-rail vehicles per train equates to customers feeling safer.

Metro Transit in Minneapolis, Minn., is reducing the number of light-rail vehicles in a train from three to two. The move will test if a reduced number of cars in a train improves the customer experience; more specifically, will the reduced number of cars help customers feel safer.

Both the METRO Blue and Green Lines will see reduced rail cars as part of the program, which will take place July 9 through Aug. 19. The test program is part of the agency’s Safety & Security Action Plan. The plan identifies 40 actions based around three areas of work – improving conditions of the system, training and supporting employees and engaging customers and partners – as a way to improve public safety on the transit network.

“Three-car vehicle sets have been our standard since the Green Line opened, but times have changed and we need to be open to all new ideas,” said Metro Transit Chief Operating Officer Brian Funk.

Each light-rail vehicle can hold up to 132 passengers. Crowding on light-rail trains shouldn’t be a concern with Metro Transit explaining light-rail ridership is at about half of pre-pandemic levels.

Customer feedback will determine if adjustments are required and Metro Transit may also make special consideration for those times when ridership is expected to be higher.

At the program’s conclusion, next steps will be determined by customer and train operator feedback and other evaluation measures, like on-time performance.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.