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Commuters will get better bus options

Starting Sept. 14, Rosemount residents who take the bus to downtown Minneapolis will soon have some new, hopefully more convenient options.

In response to requests from riders the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority plans launch a new bus service between the Rosemount Community Center and downtown Minneapolis.

"Earlier this year, the MVTA drafted three options for improving service to Rosemount residents," said Executive director Beverley Miller. "The plan that we are implementing was the preferred choice of most respondents and we are pleased to be able to offer these service improvements while staying within our budget."

Route 478 will start at 145th and Diamond Path, travel to the community center and then go directly downtown. Additionally Route 476 will begin at 145th Street and Diamond Path and stop at the community center and the Palomino Hills Park and Ride before going on to downtown.

Route 479, which has served Rosemount residents since last September, will no longer stop at the community center. The service will continue to serve the 157th Street Transit Station in Apple Valley.

Mayor Bill Droste, who serves on the MVTA Board of Directors said the improved service is welcome and he hopes more services will be made available for residents.

"Any improvements to service is a good thing," said Droste.

Although he called the new routes a step in the right direction Droste said the city council is still pushing to have a park and ride facility built within the city.

"We need a bus facility of some sort and that is our main goal," said Droste.

Currently buses pick up Rosemount riders at the Rosemount Community Center, where a number of parking spots have been designated for riders. Droste said while some service is good he hopes the MVTA will continue to make improvements in Rosemount.

Bus service started in Rosemount last September. Parking for riders is available at the community center and is located south of the ice arena and banquet area. More than 50 spaces are reserved for park-and-riders.

Before September 2008, Rosemount residents had to travel to a neighboring cities to use the bus despite the fact the city of Rosemount has been a paying member of the MVTA since its inception in 1991.

In February the council threatened to withdraw from the MVTA because of lack of convenient service and a transit station.

Route 478 will offer two northbound trips to depart the Rosemount Community Center Park & Ride at 13885 S. Robert Trail at 6:35 and 7:04 a.m., arriving in downtown Minneapolis at Third and Seventh at 7:20 and 7:49 a.m. Two Route 478 southbound trips will depart Gateway Ramp at 4:30 and 5 p.m., arriving at the Rosemount Community Center Park & Ride at 5:26 p.m. and 5:56 p.m.

Route 476 will begin at 145th and Diamond Path at 5:36 a.m., serve the Rosemount Community Center at 5:43 a.m. and also serve the Palomino Hills Park & Ride before reaching downtown Minneapolis at 6:40 a.m. In the evening, there are two Route 476V trips that depart Gateway Ramp at 4:06 and 5:36 p.m., arriving at the Rosemount Community Center at 5:12 and 6:44 p.m.

In addition to the express service on Routes 476V and 478, Rosemount also has all day flex route/local service on Route 420, which travels within the city and to the Apple Valley Transit Station to make connections to other routes. Riders board the bus at timepoints and designated stops, and are also able to call for reservations for off-route pick-ups within the designated service area .