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August 10, 2016

Metro Transit honored as System of the Year

Metro Transit is celebrating a top national award that recognizes its record ridership and success in a range of areas, including safety, operations, maintenance and community relations. 

The agency has received the American Public Transportation Association's (APTA) 2016 Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Award. The prestigious annual award, also known as System of the Year, reflects accomplishments made between 2013 and 2015. 

Those accomplishments include growing ridership, expanding access, advances in sustainability and overall success in system safety. Metro Transit was selected among agencies from across North America that provide more than 20 million annual passenger trips.

“Minnesota's economy depends upon a robust, modern transportation network, including transit. This need will only intensify in coming years as the Twin Cities adds an estimated 800,000 residents and 490,000 jobs by 2040,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “This award confirms what the thousands of Minnesotans who rely on transit already know: Metro Transit delivers consistent, high-quality service. This recognition is well deserved, and an important reminder that Minnesota needs to continue to expand and improve transit services if we want our economy to stay strong.” 

Local elected, business and community leaders were on-hand Wednesday at the Union Depot in St. Paul to join Metro Transit and Metropolitan Council leadership and staff as the award was announced.  The award will be presented at APTA’s Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, Calif. in September. 

“Public transit benefits everyone in the region, whether they use transit or not,” said Council Chair Adam Duininck. “We know businesses cite access to public transit as one of the most important aspects of attracting and retaining talent. And ridership continues to grow, with no sign of slowing down.” 

Metro Transit also unveiled a new decal noting the award which will be added to all of its buses and trains. The agency also announced a customer and staff appreciation event that will be held on Saturday, Sept. 24, at the Target Field Station amphitheater. For updated event details visit

“Metro Transit’s success is a reflection of the talent and dedication shown by each of our 3,200 employees who work together to provide the essential services our region depends on, as well as the enduring relationships we’ve built with our customers and partners,” General Manager Brian Lamb said. “Being named APTA’s System of the Year is a humbling and high honor, and one that can be celebrated by all who helped bring us to this point.” 

After opening the METRO Green Line in 2014, Metro Transit saw its highest ridership in 30 years. More than 85.8 million rides were taken in 2015. In addition to record ridership, Metro Transit was recognized for successes in system safety, reliability, community relations, workforce development, sustainability and financial management, among other areas. 

Growth in the Metro Transit Police Department, enhanced operator training and highly visible safety campaigns have improved system safety. Carefully-managed maintenance programs have doubled vehicle reliability over the last decade. And $16 million in savings have been realized through the expanded use of hybrid-electric buses, solar energy and other sustainability efforts. New transit information tools, fare programs for students and expanded bus service have also made transit more accessible. 

As the system has grown, so too has Metro Transit’s commitment to the communities it serves. In 2015, Metro Transit began working with local groups to shape ongoing bus stop improvements, launched a groundbreaking program that provides job-seekers a path to full-time Mechanic Technician roles and formed an outreach team to ensure residents were both heard from and involved in the decision-making process. 

"Winning the 2016 Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Award means that Metro Transit has been recognized as the top large public transit system in North America," said Paul Skoutelas, APTA Awards Chair and National Transit Director, WSP|Parsons Brinckerhoff. ""This is a huge honor that reflects all of the hard work done by the 3,200 Metro Transit employees.  Metro Transit is a model for other public transit systems." 

"Congratulations to Metro Transit!" said Richard A. White, APTA Acting President & CEO.  "Metro Transit's record ridership, its emphasis on safety, its outstanding vehicle reliability and its great effort in sustainability are just some of the reasons APTA is giving Metro Transit this prestigious award." 

For more information about upcoming activities and Metro Transit’s accomplishments visit


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

Virginia Miller, APTA Director–Media Relations, 202-496-4816, [email protected]