If overnight Green Line routes are cut, a mobile homeless shelter is gone

When you haul more than 40,000 people a day, things can get a little stinky.

When you haul more than 40,000 people a day, things can get a little stinky. Eric Wheeler, Metro Transit

With routes running only once an hour after 1 a.m., the Green Line train between the downtowns of Minneapolis and St. Paul isn't perfectly suited for the bar crowd or people working the night shift. But it is the Twin Cities' foremost mobile homeless shelter, carrying up to 300 people a night, according to Metro Transit counts.

That may come to an end if the agency decides to kill service from 2-4 a.m. on weekdays.

The cancellation would amount to just two trips each way per day, similar to the schedule of the Blue Line. Met Transit wants to use the time for cleaning and maintenance, since the line carries more than 40,000 people a day.

The problem, of course, would mean it effectively eliminates its dual purpose as a homeless shelter, a place to crash when there's no where else to go, especially during winter.

Metro Transit acknowledges the predicament. Its officers already hand out socks, hats, and food.

Yet it also must deal with customer complaints, something to be expected when the agency handles more than 250,000 rides per day. Throw in the bar crowd and the auxiliary shelter service, and cleanliness becomes an issue.

GM Wes Kooistra outlined the problems to the Met Council this week, with tales of vomit and the distinct scent of urine. Last month, 50 Green Line cars had to be pulled from service for cleaning, he said.

The agency has yet to make a final call. Even if the move is made, the new schedule won't begin until later this summer.