Metro Transit provided 575,348 rides to and from the 2015 Minnesota State Fair — an 8 percent increase over last year and the highest express and regular route ridership ever.
The ride total accounted for 16 percent of State Fair attendance, which reached 1.8 million. The percentage of fairgoers who traveled to the State Fair on Metro Transit was the highest since 2008, when Metro Transit also operated free shuttles to the fairgrounds.
The highest single-day ridership to this year's State Fair was on Saturday, Aug. 29, when nearly 70,600 rides were provided.
Almost 90 percent of State Fair ridership was from the 13 free Park & Ride locations where Metro Transit provided State Fair Express Bus Service. Three regular routes — the 3, 61 and 84 — and Route 960 from downtown Minneapolis also served people traveling to the State Fair.
“Riding the bus to the State Fair has become as much a part of the experience as riding the Ferris wheel or eating a Pronto Pup,” General Manager Brian Lamb said. “We thank all those who traveled with us and look forward to continuing the tradition of giving people a fun, safe and convenient way to celebrate the best our state has to offer.”
Metro Transit staff and operators collectively dedicated nearly 15,000 hours to State Fair service during its 12-day run. As always, all operating costs are covered by fares.
The Minnesota Valley Transit Authority reported an 18 percent increase in State Fair ridership, and SouthWest Transit said it, too, set a new record.
In addition to express and regular route service, Metro Transit staff connected with fairgoers at the Eco Experience building and at a Grandstand booth that focused on a new arterial Bus Rapid Transit line, the A Line. With service on Snelling Avenue, the A Line will connect with the state fairgrounds in 2016.
> A city commute in crop art
> Smaller shelter shown off at State Fair