Metro Transit is considering cutting four overnight Green Line services from its schedule to allow for maintenance and address complaints about anti-social behavior.
The proposal was made by new Metro Transit General Manager Wes Kooistra at a meeting of the Metropolitan Council's Committee of the Whole on Wednesday.
The change would see Metro Transit eliminate 4 hourly trips between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. – 2 in each direction – along the Green Line between Minneapolis and St. Paul on weekdays.
It would then return to a 24-hour schedule on weekends.
Metro Transit says that a final decision on the change should be made by May, in order for it to be implemented by August.
One of the reasons Kooistra gave for the reduction in service is that the light rail's maintenance staff have been calling for regular pauses in service so they can carry out repairs on the line.
But another reason is concern over the safety of customers on late-night trains, with complaints having been made over assaults, thefts and drug use, the Star Tribune reports.
Kooistra told the committee that a Green Line rider was found dead this week on a train having injected himself while on board, the newspaper notes.
Metro Transit itself concedes that the decision to cut the late-night services could affect the 200-300 homeless people who ride the trains each night.
Another presentation given to the Met Council committee examined how homeless people use Metro Transit services, and found that many are not ready for independent living.
Metro Transit spokesman Howie Padilla told the Pioneer Press that the proposed changes to late-night services are more about maintenance, rather than being specifically in response to homeless use of light rail trains,
Nonetheless it's already receiving pushback from transit advocates, with the Twin Cities Transit Riders Union saying: "These changes mean that not only will the unsheltered have one less place to go, St. Paul will also have no routes that operate all night long."
Metro Transit staff and police already work with several shelters in both Minneapolis and St. Paul to connect homeless users of transit to services that can help them.