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News & Events

September 9, 2016

Big events lead Metro Transit to record ridership

Metro Transit saw its highest single-day ridership in recent memory when fairgoers mixed with commuters and sports fans across the region.

Nearly 370,000 rides were taken systemwide on Thursday, Sept. 1, as the Twins, Vikings, Gophers and Saints each hosted home games and service was provided to the Minnesota State Fair.

“Throughout the 2016 State Fair, Minnesotans made record use of the Park & Ride stations across the Twin Cities,” Lt. Governor Tina Smith said. “This strong ridership is another indicator that when Minnesotans have access to a robust transit system, they use it.”

With more than 117,000 rides on the Blue and Green lines, a single-day light rail ridership record was also set on Sept. 1. The Blue Line had its busiest day ever, with nearly 59,000 rides.

The previous single-day light rail ridership record was set on Sept. 3, 2015, when there were nearly 101,000 rides.

“Facing one of the busiest days in our history, we delivered safe, effective service that allowed residents to focus on the festivities instead of the frustrations that come with traffic,” General Manager Brian Lamb said. “Our performance is a testament to our staff’s talents as well as the value of an integrated transit system that only gets stronger as it expands.”

Metro Transit also provided a record number of express bus and regular route rides to and from the State Fair, serving 16 percent of the fair’s record 1.9 million visitors. 

Just over 632,500 rides were provided to and from the fairgrounds, surpassing last year’s record ridership by nearly 10 percent. The highest single-day State Fair ridership was Saturday, Sept. 3, when Metro Transit provided 73,667 rides to and from the fairgrounds.

Metro Transit's State Fair service represents the second-largest transit operation in the state during the fair. 

“Minnesotans need an enhanced system of light rail, bus rapid transit and regular route bus service year round, not just during the State Fair,” Smith continued. “I urge the Legislature to pass a long-term, sustainable transportation funding solution next session to improve our transit network, reduce congestion for everyone and support economic development and job creation.”

The majority of Metro Transit’s State Fair rides were taken on express buses operating between the fairgrounds and 13 Park & Rides served exclusively by Metro Transit. Round-trip rides cost $5, generating revenue that covers the cost of providing the extra service. The busiest Park & Ride location was just east of the Mall of America in Bloomington; the Northstar Fridley Station saw the biggest ridership increase. 

Average weekday ridership on the A Line was just over 6,100 during the State Fair – a 42 percent increase compared to August pre-State Fair average.

Service was also provided by regular routes 3, 84 and 61, and the limited-stop Route 960 from downtown Minneapolis.

Fans can learn more about taking transit to a Vikings, Gophers or Twins games on Metro Transit's website. To plan a trip use Metro Transit's Trip Planner or call 612-373-3333.

Single-Day Ridership

  Sept. 1, 2016 Sept. 3, 2015
Bus 247,873 251,151
Blue Line 58,955* 36,945
Green Line 58,108 63,964
Northstar 4,690 3,605
Total LRT 117,053 100,909
Total System 369,626 355,665

* Note: The Blue Line’s previous single-day ridership record was set on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2010, when commuters, Twins and Vikings fans took 55,693 rides.

Minnesota State Fair Ridership

  2016 2015
Total rides 632,518 575,348
Express rides 565,396 504,733
Percent of attendance 16.3% 16%

2016 Minnesota State Fair Transit Hub, Parade

September 1, 2016 Events - Downtown Minneapolis


Howie Padilla, Metro Transit Public Relations Manager, 612-349-7089, [email protected].