Burnsville, Minn.-based Minnesota Valley Transit Authority (MVTA) experienced strong ridership in 2009, despite ending the year down nearly eight percent from the record 2008 ridership level. Total ridership for 2009 was 2,431,251, which was still higher than 2007's ridership numbers.
MVTA ridership had grown in correlation to increasing gas prices; however, it did notice a sharper drop in ridership on Minneapolis express routes than St. Paul express routes.
American Public Transportation Association (APTA) reports a decrease in all modes of transit ridership across the country, with comparable systems dropping as much as nine percent in 2009 according to data through the third quarter. These declines are generally attributed to rising unemployment and falling gas prices.
"There were some bright spots," reported MVTA Board Chair and Dakota County Commissioner Will Branning. "For example, ridership to the University of Minnesota on Route 465 grew by 5.6 percent from 2008 and reports a staggering 48 percent increase since 2006."
Additionally, he said, ridership on the local "flex routes", which provide partially demand-responsive service between suburban communities, grew significantly.
MVTA is the public transportation provider for residents and businesses of Apple Valley, Burnsville, Eagan, Rosemount and Savage.