Northstar commuter rail train ridership hit 33,112 in its first 15 days of operation, according to Minneapolis-based Metro Transit.
"While it is too early to make sweeping statements, these early ridership results indicate to us a very positive response to the state's newest transportation option," said Metro Transit GM Brian Lamb.
Daily ridership in November averaged 2,207 compared to a 2010 daily average goal of about 2,460, Lamb said. The numbers include strong weekend ridership as well as one special event train serving Vikings fans.
Northstar offers five morning rush-hour trips to Minneapolis and five trips home in the afternoon as well as one reverse-commute trip. Three roundtrips are available on Saturdays and Sundays.
In other Northstar news, Metro Transit said it has leased a locomotive from the Utah Transit Authority. The locomotive, which will be the sixth in the Northstar fleet, currently is en route to the Big Lake, Minn., maintenance base. It will enhance long-term service reliability and ease maintenance pressures.
The $317 million Northstar rail project was delivered on time and under budget through collaborative efforts of the Metropolitan Council/Metro Transit, Northstar Corridor Development Authority and Minnesota Department of Transportation. The Counties Transit Improvement Board and Sherburne County assist with operating funds.