Jan. 24--Metro Transit buses and trains carried more people for the fourth straight year the agency announced Thursday, providing 81.4 million rides in 2013.
That's an increase of more than 300,000 rides over 2012, according to figures released by Metro Transit.
Notable was the spike in Northstar commuter train ridership, which increased more than 12 percent to nearly 800,000 rides -- the most in its four-year history.
A new stop in Ramsey and a permanent fare reduction in April contributed to the ridership growth, according to the newly-released figures.
"Only twice in 32 years has Metro Transit ridership reached this level," said General Manager Brian Lamb in a release. "We thank our customers -- both long-time and new -- for this fourth consecutive year of growth.
In 2013, Metro Transit provided 5 million more total rides than four years ago. Besides the Northstar Line, gains in urban buses helped balance a slight drop in Hiawatha Line light rail ridership, the agency said.
The light-rail line connecting Minneapolis to the Mall of America and Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport was plagued by weekend disruptions, something Metro Transit said will be avoided in 2014.
Joseph Lindberg can be reached at 651-228-5513. Follow him at twitter.com/JosephLindberg.
Copyright 2014 - Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.