Customers boarded Metro Transit buses and trains nearly 81.4 million times in 2013, an increase of more than 300,000 rides (0.4 percent) over 2012. The Northstar Commuter Rail line had a particularly strong year, with ridership up more than 12 percent.
“Only twice in 32 years has Metro Transit ridership reached this level,” said General Manager 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.”
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.
Improved fuel conservation and resulting operational savings were reinvested into extended evening and weekend bus service in the east metro. A partnership with Minneapolis Public Schools expanded bus service to South and Southwest high schools, introducing a new generation to public transportation.
Metro Blue Line Light Rail
Ridership on the Metro Blue Line dropped 3.2 percent 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 percent.
“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.”
Northstar Commuter Rail
Customers boarded Northstar trains 787,239 times in 2013, the highest number in the line’s four-year history. This overall 12.4 percent 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 percent.
“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.”