January 23, 2014

Minn. Metro Transit ridership surpasses 81 million in 2013

Customers boarded Minneapolis Metro Transit buses and trains nearly 81.4 million times in 2013, an increase of more than 300,000 rides (0.4%) over 2012. The Northstar Commuter Rail line had a particularly strong year, with ridership up more than 12%.

“Only twice in 32 years has Metro Transit ridership reached this level,” said GM Brian Lamb. “We thank our customers — both long-time and new — for this fourth consecutive year of growth. In 2013, we provided five million more rides than just four years ago.”

Buses

Customers boarded buses operated by Metro Transit 70.4 million times in 2013. Ridership on urban local routes – the heart of the agency’s all-day service — increased 565,266 rides to 59.3 million. Customers boarded freeway-oriented express buses 9.5 million times and suburban crosstown routes 1.6 million times.

Rail

Ridership on the METRO Blue Line dropped 3.2% to 10.2 million. Planned service interruptions for construction and maintenance projects dampened weekend ridership. Projects included the first-ever smoothing of all miles of track, completion of the junction with the METRO Green Line and accommodating a major rebuilding of the roadway interchange at 34th Avenue and I-494 in Bloomington. Average weekday ridership on the region’s first light-rail line continues to exceed projections for the year 2020 by more than 25%.

“We know that many weekends of construction and maintenance on the METRO system wore on our customers last year,” said Lamb. “This year, we intend to repay that patience with the results — improved reliability and comfort on the Blue Line and the opening of the METRO Green Line.”

Meanwhile, customers boarded Northstar trains 787,239 times in 2013, the highest number in the line’s four-year history. This overall 12.4% increase is attributable to a fare reduction made permanent in April and the addition of a station in Ramsey in November 2012. Average weekday ridership — the line’s primary commuter market — increased 17%.

“Although trains served more special events than ever before, new weekday commuters drove the strong gains in Northstar ridership,” said Lamb. “The line’s weather-proof reliability, comfortable ride and new onboard Wi-Fi service offer an increasingly attractive package for work travelers.”

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