Green Line overnight schedule change displaces 'unsheltered riders'

It’s the last train of the night for the Green Line from downtown Minneapolis to downtown St. Paul, and some riders are getting a rude awakening.

“We’re out here reminding people the train shuts down from 2 to 4 and that if they are riding right now, they are going to wind up in St. Paul," said Sgt. Brooke Blakey with Metro Transit's Homeless Action Team.

As the train pulls into Union Depot, people who use it as a makeshift shelter overnight are met by officers from Metro Transit's Homeless Action Team as well as members of several social service agencies. More than a dozen got beds in nearby shelters. 

"I'm kind of glad about it, but it also makes me think that I wish I could do something that is better," rider Dominique Jones said.

Meanwhile, others decide to figure things out on their own.

"We ain't got nowhere to go. I don't want to go to the shelter. They got bed bugs and all that, lice and all that. It’s just sad," rider Alfred Jordan said.

Metro Transit says it is interrupting service on the Green Line from 2 to 4 a.m. on weekdays to perform maintenance and clean the trains and tracks.

Some “unsheltered riders,” as they are called, get on buses that will bridge the gap in service while others choose to wait on the platforms for the trains to run again.

"Our transit system is not a dignified place for people to use as a shelter. It doesn't have running water, it doesn't have bathrooms. It certainly doesn't have the services folks need," said Howie Padilla with Metro Transit.

By 3:30 a.m., the first Green Line train of the day is ready to leave the station, but not all of those unsheltered riders will be back on board – now, or in the future.

“I gotta find something different to do since they are doing this now," Jordan said.