|All Sources > Manitou Messenger (DA-MM) > The Manitou Messenger (1916-2020) > 2020 > No. 13, Vol. 133|
New bus route, Northfield to Fairbault
Author: Hannah Martens
On March 2, Hiawathaland Transit launched a new bus route connecting Northfield to the neighboring city of Faribault. The additional line was created after a survey of transit users showed that Faribault was their most requested location.
The new line runs between the city halls of Faribault and Northfield and operates Monday through Friday between the hours of 6:45 a.m. and 5:15 p.m. Riders can utilize local transit routes to reach their points of transfer. The red and blue routes in both cities stop at their respective city halls.
St. Olaf students can ride the Faribault line for free this year with a student ID. For non-St. Olaf students, a single ride costs $3.50. Tokens to ride will be available for students in the Office of Student Activities (OSA), and all Hiawathaland Transit vehicles are handicap accessible.
Associate Director of Student Activities Brandon Cash described the new line as a reflection of a larger pattern of travel within the St. Olaf and greater Northfield community.
"More and more you're seeing students that
a) have a medical or specialist appointment or
b) have an internship in the area," Cash said.
St. Olafs location in Northfield can pose many transportation difficulties. The "St. Olaf Extra" email alias often has requests for rides to neighboring towns such as Dundas and Faribault. For a largely residential campus where not everyone has a car, lack of public transportation can be greatly limiting. The new line gives students access to a larger selection of medical care and specialist options, as well as more opportunities for employment, internships and volunteer work.
"It will expand the footprint of where you can get to from campus," Cash said. Although Faribault is only slightly larger than Northfield, students will have more options for shopping and eating.
Faribault features a Walmart Supercenter, Goodwill and Joann Fabrics. Restaurants in the city include 1st of Thai, Gran Plaza Mexican Grill and Crooked Pint Ale House. The city also has several parks and trails, as well as the Rice County Historical Society Museum.
The Faribault shuttle line is the first completed project in a series of potential plans that aim to expand Northfield's public transportation. The Minnesota Regional Passenger Rail Initiative seeks to expand passenger rail travel throughout the state and beyond. The proposed southern corridor would i utilize an existing I track that runs through Northfield, connecting the Twin Cities area to southern areas in the state. Main stops would include cities such as Albert Lea, Owatonna and Rochester. The railway plan also intersects with the Amtrak system, connecting Minnesota with other states around the country such as California, Colorado and Texas.
The next step for the railway is a feasibility study of the Albert Lea-Northfield passenger rail corridor. Supporters of the plan have requested funding from the state government for the study, and a bill has been introduced in the Minnesota House of Representatives that would authorize the needed finances.
marten 1 @stolaf. edu
By Hannah Martens. Contributing Writer