August 1, 2012

Minn. Metro cuts Northstar fares

Minneapolis’ Metro Transit reduced fares for most weekday trips on the Northstar Commuter Rail by $1 beginning Aug. 1. The initiative kicks off a promotional campaign to show commuters in the Northwest metropolitan area that now is the time to try Northstar.

The campaign encourages commuters driving alone in the Northstar corridor to trade unpredictable, start-and-stop rush hour traffic for reliable, smooth travel on Northstar trains. The campaign will include advertising in community newspapers and on billboards along the Highway 10 corridor as well as a direct mailing targeted to downtown workers living near stations along the line.

“Surveys show that once commuters try Northstar, they value it and keep riding,” said Brian Lamb, GM, Metro Transit. “However, surveys also show that non-riders perceive fares to be too high. This promotion encourages those commuters to get on board and experience the comfort and near-perfect on-time performance of Northstar.”

In addition, Metro Transit is working with companies that offer the Metropass employer-based transit program to promote the fare reduction to employees. Nearly 33,000 commuters are enrolled in the Metropass program, which is available to 177,000 employees at 267 Twin Cities employers. Because customers with Metropasses receive a $3 credit toward every Northstar trip, they will be able to ride Northstar for no additional charge when they board at Anoka, Coon Rapids and Fridley stations or travel between stations.

Although weekday commuters are the primary market for the campaign, downtown event-goers, bicyclists and other groups will also benefit from the lower fares. Regularly scheduled or special Northstar trains serve all Twins and Vikings games.

The goals of the fare reduction promotion are to build long-term ridership and maximize the regional investment in Northstar. The region’s first modern commuter rail line has operated within budget since opening on Nov. 16, 2009, despite falling short of pre-launch ridership projections.

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