The federal government is threatening Southwest Airlines with consequences if it doesn’t follow through on promises to reimburse stranded customers for alternative travel costs, hotel rooms, meal and drink expenses and baggage reunification. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg wrote to Southwest CEO Bob Jordan that his department will hold the airline accountable for its operational meltdown that has canceled 13,000 flights since December 22.
For Rama Vibushnan, a mom who works at Optum in Eden Prairie, the public Joint Powers Authority’s bus service called Prime is a lifeline. After dropping her daughter, Laree, at New Horizon Child Care on a snowy Tuesday, she used her smartphone to arrange a ride home, hopping on a bus within minutes. It took her about 20 minutes to make it from the Eden Prairie Center back to her house in Chaska.
The system is a prototype for high-performance transit, running over a dedicated off-street guideway that’s 15% shorter and nearly twice as fast as the street/freeway grid, with frequent stops at malls, schools and dense neighborhoods. It can carry 16 vehicles at one time and transfer riders between buses, providing door-to-door mobility that’s more convenient than driving a car, and offers flexibility of schedule and destinations. Private-sector developers are responding by investing billions in station area residential and commercial projects. This performance-driven mobility advantage could propel SWLRT to far higher ridership than pre-pandemic forecasts. The project has a goal of being completed in 2027.