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Northstar has record ridership increase in April 

| Tuesday, May 14, 2013 4:27:00 PM

Customers boarded Northstar trains more than 71,000 times in April, an increase of more than 12,000 rides over last year. This 20.9 percent gain is the highest in the line’s history.

Coon Rapids-Riverdale leads all original Northstar stations in ridership gains and is trending about 23 percent higher than last year. There were also big gains at Big Lake Station  ridership was up 9 percent over a year ago to 9,750 in April. St. Cloud Metro Bus reports that ridership on its Northstar Link commuter coach service that extends transit from Big Lake to the St. Cloud area jumped about 10 percent over last year to nearly 5,000 in April.   

Year-to-date Northstar commuter rail ridership is 235,816, up more than 33,000 rides or 16.3 percent  supported by a successful trial of a fare adjustment that was made permanent on May 1 and the opening of Ramsey Station in November of last year.

Bus From the GM Light Rail Rider Information

Your Driving Costs - Up again in 2013 

| Tuesday, May 07, 2013 9:12:00 PM

From Brian Lamb, Metro Transit General Manager

The American Automobile Association (AAA) published the first edition of “Your Driving Costs” 63 years ago. Gas was 27 cents a gallon, it cost about nine cents per mile to drive and the Interstate System wouldn’t exist for several years. In the 2013 edition of the annual report, AAA estimates it now costs 60.8 cents per mile on average to own and operate an average-sized sedan.

The well-known and authoritative report accounts for fuel, depreciation, maintenance and other driving costs (it does not account for parking though). At 60.8 cents per mile, driving an average automobile 15,000 miles adds up to $9,122 per year. Costs are significantly higher for SUVs, trucks and vans.

AAA has factored the average cost of fuel at $3.49 a gallon (up two percent from last year), but that’s not the only cost on the rise. Maintenance is up 11.3 percent, insurance is up nearly 3 percent and depreciation is up slightly as well. On all fronts, it’s getting more expensive to drive alone.

AAA also recently reported that $3.44 per gallon is the breaking point when it comes to fuel costs  that’s when 50 percent of drivers surveyed say prices are “too high”. We've been trending significantly higher than that in this region for most of 2013. You can check for current pump prices.

For an average family, transportation is the second highest expense behind housing. Changing how one gets around is much easier than changing where one lives, of course. Nearly 2/3rds of those AAA surveyed said they are offsetting rising fuel prices by “changing their driving habits or lifestyle”. Those with access to public transportation, especially those younger than 35, are choosing buses and trains more often.

Here are some examples of daily savings for households choosing transit. This table shows the average length of a customer roundtrip on each Metro Transit service type. It also reflects the average fare paid  factoring transfers, all fare levels and discounts for frequent riders using employer, student or other programs (Metropass, College Pass, Youth & Senior fares, Disabled Veterans, Job Seekers, etc.).

Mode Average roundtrip miles AAA est. car cost (@ $0.608 / mile) Average fare Savings per day
Bus 8.5 $5.17 $2.30 $2.87
Light rail 10.6 $6.44 $1.92 $4.52
Northstar 50.7 $30.83 $7.34 $23.49

As you can see, real savings add up quickly for those who choose transit  even for a few trips per week. Factoring in parking, too, the American Public Transportation Association recently reported that a multi-car Twin Cities household would save $855 each month by living with one fewer car and choosing transit and/or other alternatives to driving alone.

Many of Metro Transit's customers can’t afford to drive, but a majority have automobiles and choose public transportation instead. Without our service, these families would be pouring more of their money into the gas tank and less into their savings accounts and our regional economy.

Bus Transit Information Transit Planning

Use of audio NexTrip real-time departures expands 

| Monday, May 06, 2013 8:45:00 AM

Customers requested NexTrip real-time predicted departures in audio format 4,000 times in April — up from 3,000 times in February. Particularly useful for blind and low-vision customers, the annunciator system features a push-button audio interface in addition to the visual signs at 36 locations throughout the Twin Cities.

The most popular locations are Mall of America Transit Station and Marquette Avenue & 7th Street. A NexTrip audio annunciator was most recently installed at Union Depot. The system will be added at South Bloomington Transit Center this summer.




Image at left: NexTrip annunciator inside Leamington Transit Center.


Fares In the News Rider Information

Go-To Cards used to pay fares at record rate 

| Thursday, May 02, 2013 1:35:00 PM

Go-To Cards were used to pay for 3.43 million rides in February  54.7 percent of fares paid. This is the highest share of Go-To transactions recorded to date. 

More from:

Star Tribune – Metro Transit fare collection is in the Go-To cards


In the News Safety Transit Police

MTPD featured in Minnesota Police Journal cover story  

| Monday, April 01, 2013 1:48:00 PM

Metro Transit Ploice Department featured in Minnesota Police Journal

The Winter 2013 edition of Minnesota Police Journal features a cover story about the Metro Transit Police Department. Written by Chief John Harrington, the comprehensive three-page article is available at as a PDF document.

The article is reprinted courtesy of Minnesota Police Journal - the official publication of The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association (MMPOA). The MMPOA is the largest association representing police officers in Minnesota and its members include rank and file municipal police officers, county deputy sheriffs and peace officers employed by the State of Minnesota.

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