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July 27, 2011

39.6 Million Rides on Buses and Trains Through June; 3.2% Increase Over 2010

MINNEAPOLIS – (July 27) – In the first half of 2011, customers boarded Metro Transit buses and trains 39.6 million times – 1.2 million more rides than the same period last year (a 3.2 percent increase). Ridership in the month of June of this year is up 6 percent over June 2010.

“Transit ridership has continued to grow through the second quarter as more commuters choose to avoid high gas prices and congested freeways,” said Metro Transit General Manager Brian Lamb. “If this pace continues, it appears that 2011 could rival the record ridership of 2008.” In 2008, regional transit ridership was the highest in half a century.

“As the region continues its gradual economic rebound, Metro Transit is well positioned to continue to grow as more people return to work and assess their commuting options,” Lamb said. “Already nearly 80 percent of customers are using buses and trains to get to work and school.”

Lamb said bus maintenance reliability is at an all-time high and bus on-time performance  is approaching 90 percent despite widespread road construction projects.

“Real-time technology has taken the guesswork out of transit punctuality and getting timely information about trips is easier for customers than ever before with our web and phone tools. The increases in ridership reflect the improved quality of the transit system,” Lamb said.

Comparing bus ridership with the same period last year, urban local service is up 4.1 percent, express service is up nearly 3.3 percent and suburban local service has increased 3.4 percent. Northstar commuter rail had a 4.4 percent ridership increase over the first half of 2010. Ridership on the Hiawatha light-rail line is down 2.3 percent compared with the first half of last year. In the month of June, the line celebrated its seventh anniversary of service with ridership nearly 5 percent higher than June a year ago. Customers rode the Hiawatha line a record 10.5 million times in 2010.

In each of the past four years, ridership on Metro Transit vehicles has exceeded 76 million – a benchmark that had not previously been surpassed since 1982.
Metro Transit is a service of the Metropolitan Council. Customers boarded Metro Transit buses and trains 78 million times in 2010.

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(For more information, contact John Siqveland at 612-349-7089 or john.siqveland@metrotransit.org)

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