Getting around Minneapolis-St Paul
Metro Transit (MTC) (tel: +1 612 373 3333; www.metrotransit.org) operates over 100 bus routes, two light rail lines and one bus rapid transit line throughout the Twin Cities.
Go-To Cards are reloadable smartcards. You can buy a Stored Value Card, a weekly or monthly pass, or a Stored Ride Pass, which includes a set number of journeys. Passes are available online, at stations or from Metro Transit Service Centers, located at 719 Marquette in Downtown Minneapolis and the Downtown St Paul Skyway. You can also buy them at local retailers; check the website for an up-to-date list.
On buses, you can also pay by cash (exact change only).
The Metro Blue Line connects downtown Minneapolis with the Mall of America via the airport. The Metro Green Line connects downtown Minneapolis with downtown St Paul (stopping at Union Depot railway station).
Both Minneapolis and St Paul are famous for their skyways, a unique system of enclosed city centre, second-storey walkways, which connect banks, department stores, office buildings and hotels, enabling people to avoid the inclement weather. The skyways are open Monday-Friday 0630-2200, Saturday 0930-2000 and Sunday 1200-1800, although hours may vary.
There are designated taxi ranks at the airport, the Mall of America and in Downtown Minneapolis and St Paul. For all other locations, you must book a taxi in advance. There are surcharges for extra passengers or airport runs.
Taxi companies include Rainbow Taxi (tel: +1 612 332 1615) and Blue & White Taxi (tel: +1 612 333 3333). Tips are around 15% of the total fare.
Minneapolis and St Paul are laid out like a grid. With a good map, both cities are fairly easy to navigate. Traffic is heavy during morning and evening rush hours.
Winter presents the biggest challenge to drivers. During heavy snowfalls, parking is banned on many main streets, or only allowed on even- or odd-numbered sides of residential streets, to enable snow ploughing.
Metered parking, which is often free at the weekend, is available on downtown streets. Parking time is often limited to two hours. There are also parking ramps (garages) and lots, which are more expensive.
To hire a car, drivers must be 25 years old and hold a major credit card and valid national driving licence.
The Twin Cities have extensive bike paths, including dedicated commuter lanes along some of the main thoroughfares, plus about 80km (50 miles) of paved, interconnected paths, called the Grand Rounds, which run through parks and recreational areas.
In Minneapolis, you can hire bikes at Calhoun Cycle, 3342 Hennepin Avenue South (tel: +1 612 827 8000; www.calhouncycle.com) or The Alt, 3013 Lyndale Avenue South (tel: +1 612 374 3635; www.altbikeboard.com).
The cities also have a bikeshare scheme called Nice Ride (tel: +1 877 551 6423; www.niceridemn.org). One-day passes are available, which give you unlimited 30-minute rides with 24 hours.
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