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Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Rochester City Council could take action Monday evening on an agreement that will provide for free rides on the planned LINK Bus Rapid Transit system.

The 20-year agreement with Mayo Clinic lays out the hours of operation and the frequency of service for the planned 2.8-mile transit system through downtown Rochester from near the Mayo Civic Center and Government Center to the planned West Transit Village along Second Street Southwest next to Cascade Lake. The proposed agreement calls for the bus rapid transit system to operate from 5 AM to midnight on weekdays and from 8 AM until midnight on weekends.

Stops at the seven stations on the route will occur every five minutes during rush hours (5-8 AM & 3-6 PM), and every 10 minutes during other times. The weekend service plan calls for stops every 15 minutes.

City of Rochester
City of Rochester
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Mayo Clinic has agreed to pay $3.5 million annually to cover the cost of providing fare-free free service for everyone using the system. It's estimated Mayo employees will account for about 3.4 million rides on the system each year. The Mayo Clinic's payment to the city will increase with the rate of inflation for the first three years, after which the city and Mayo will negotiate a new annual operating cost agreement.

City of Rochester
City of Rochester
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The agreement is also contingent on the City obtaining funding for the project by the beginning of 2024 and beginning construction by the end of that year. The current plans call for the LINK BRT system to be operational sometime in 2026.

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