January 17, 2013

Minn. Metro Transit ridership hits 81M

Customers boarded Minneapolis-based Metro Transit buses and trains more than 81 million times in 2012 — an increase of 165,044 rides (0.2%) over 2011. Ridership on the Hiawatha light rail line was the highest in the line’s history at 10.5 million.

“For only the second time in a generation, Metro Transit ridership has exceeded 81 million,” said GM Brian Lamb. “This represents the third straight year of ridership growth.”

This also marks the sixth consecutive year in which ridership has topped 76 million — a mark not previously achieved since 1983. Customers boarded Metro Transit buses and trains 81,053,506 times in 2012, which helped to push the agency’s 40-year lifetime ridership past the three billion mark in November.

Bus ridership was up 0.1% to 69,854,994. Urban local routes — the heart of Metro Transit’s all-day service — remained essentially flat at 59 million rides. Ridership on freeway-oriented express routes was up 0.9%, or 88,000 rides, to 9.5 million while rides on suburban crosstown routes grew 6.4%, or nearly 100,000 rides, to 1.7 million.

At 10,498,236, ridership on the Hiawatha Light-Rail line is the highest recorded since the line’s 2004 opening.

Average weekday ridership on the Hiawatha Line exceeds projections for the year 2020 by nearly 30 percent.

Overall annual ridership on Northstar commuter rail declined 0.45% due to a 13% reduction in the number of riders travelling to special events downtown. These reductions were offset partially by increases in the core market of weekday commuters.

For the year, weekday commuter ridership was up 4%. A fare reduction implemented in August yielded progressively larger monthly increases in weekday riders over mid-year figures — from a 6% increase in September to nearly a 20% increase in December. Weekday ridership was also boosted by higher-than-projected rides from Ramsey Station which opened in November. 

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