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July 30, 2012

Now is the Time to Try Northstar - Lower Fares Start Aug. 1

MINNEAPOLIS – (July 30) – Fares for most weekday trips on the Northstar Commuter Rail line will be reduced by $1 beginning Wednesday, Aug. 1. This week, Metro Transit begins a promotional campaign to show commuters in the northwest metro that now is the time to try Northstar.

The campaign encourages commuters driving alone in the Northstar corridor to trade unpredictable, start-and-stop rush hour traffic for reliable, smooth travel on Northstar trains. The campaign will include advertising in community newspapers and on billboards along the Highway 10 corridor as well as a direct mailing targeted to downtown workers living near stations along the line. All promotional materials direct first-time customers to how-to-ride information at metrotransit.org/TryNorthstar.

“Surveys show that once commuters try Northstar, they value it and keep riding,” said Brian Lamb, Metro Transit General Manager. “However, surveys also show that non-riders perceive fares to be too high. This promotion encourages those commuters to get on board and experience the comfort and near-perfect on-time performance of Northstar.”

In addition, Metro Transit is working with companies that offer the Metropass employer-based transit program to promote the fare reduction to employees. Nearly 33,000 commuters are enrolled in the Metropass program, which is available to 177,000 employees at 267 Twin Cities employers. Because customers with Metropasses receive a $3 credit toward every Northstar trip, they will – thanks to the fare reduction – be able to ride Northstar for no additional charge when they board at Anoka, Coon Rapids and Fridley stations or travel between stations.

One-way weekday fares between Big Lake, Elk River, Anoka and Coon Rapids-Riverdale Stations and Target Field Station in Minneapolis will be reduced by $1. Fares between suburban stations as well as fares between Fridley Station and Minneapolis will be reduced by 25¢. Weekend fares will not change. Trial fares will be in effect through April 30, 2013. Free transfers to buses or light-rail – good for two and a half hours – are still included with the reduced fares. Dozens of bus routes and the Hiawatha light-rail line connect with Northstar at or near Target Field Station serving locations all over the metro area including MSP International Airport and Mall of America.

Station Trial Fare Current Fare Trip time to/from Minneapolis
Big Lake   $6.00   $7.00   49 minutes
Elk River   $4.50   $5.50   39 minutes
Anoka   $3.00   $4.00   30 minutes
Coon Rapids-Riverdale   $3.00   $4.00   26 minutes
Fridley   $3.00   $3.25   18 minutes
Station-to-Station   $3.00   $3.25   Varies

The $3 fare at Anoka, Coon Rapids and Fridley stations is the same as a rush-hour express bus, giving commuters the option of a train or bus to travel downtown.

Although weekday commuters are the primary market for the campaign, downtown event goers, bicyclists and other groups will also benefit from the lower fares. Regularly scheduled or special Northstar trains serve all Twins and Vikings games. Bicycles can be carried aboard trains for recreational riding on the many trails along the line. Minnesota Public Radio has also recently introduced a “Sound Point®” audio project that narrates historical features and items of interest via mobile device along the 49-minute Northstar trip.   

The goals of the fare reduction promotion are to build long-term ridership and maximize the regional investment in Northstar. The region’s first modern commuter rail line has operated within budget since opening on Nov. 16, 2009, despite falling short of pre-launch ridership projections

Northstar Commuter Rail is operated by Metro Transit, a service of the Metropolitan Council. Customers boarded Metro Transit buses and trains 81 million times last year.

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For additional information contact Public Relations Manager John Siqveland at john.siqveland@metrotransit.org or 612-349-7089.

 

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