Metro Transit suspended the express bus service (Route 351 and 355) within Woodbury beginning December 4, 2021. Routes 351 and 355, the non-stop express routes serving Woodbury, were initially suspended in March 2020 due to the COVID pandemic and the associated rise in working or learning from home. Route 353 service was subsequently expanded in March 2020 offering four trips in each direction to accommodate the suspension of non-stop express service and for efficiencies (the ability to serve both downtowns with one route as ridership sharply fell).
Metro Transit has been evaluating travel patterns to determine the right amount of express service while the market recovers from the effects of the COVID pandemic. As a result, the non-stop express bus service offered on Routes 351 and 355 was restored August 2021 in anticipation of some workers returning to the office and the University of Minnesota returning to in-person classes. The express bus market from Woodbury Theatre has historically been one of their stronger markets.
Since many express bus riders continue to work from home, demand for express bus service has not rebounded with ridership levels at roughly 90% below pre-pandemic levels (2019). This reduced ridership, combined with the fact that Metro Transit is dealing with unprecedented driver shortages resulting in cancelled trips that inconvenience transit customers, has led to Metro Transit’s decision to suspend service on several routes.