ST. PAUL – Metro Transit officials gathered Monday with community and business leaders to commemorate the one year mark of the METRO Green Line’s light rail service, which has seen ridership far exceeding projections and seeds of economic development begin to blossom.
While the 11-mile stretch of track has served more than 11.1 million riders in its first year and there has been about $3 billion in development along the Green Line corridor since construction began, Metro Transit General Manager Brian Lamb said the line is about more than numbers.
“The Green Line is about improved access to jobs,” Lamb said, citing a recently released Accessibility research from the University of Minnesota, which indicated the line gave improved access to about 2,000 jobs. “It’s also about access to entertainment and this week we celebrate with all of our businesses up and down the Green Line.”
Metro Transit officials Monday distributed commemorative anniversary buttons to riders at a number of Green Line stations. Throughout the week, dozens of businesses along the businesses along the University Avenue corridor are offering promotional discounts to anyone wearing the button.
Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman hailed housing development taking place near the Green Line, which he said could be directly attributed to the transportation service.
“The Green Line has proven to be what we always knew it would be: A key part of a first class transportation system that provides access and opportunity throughout the corridor, our city and our region” Coleman said.
Signs of success along the line include:
> Initial projections for the Green Line predicted about 27,000 rides on an average weekday. That figure was not projected to top 41,000 until 2030. On Wednesday, April 15, the line had a ridership of 44,651. In May, we had a week where average weekday ridership topped 40,500.
> Combined ridership on routes 16, 94 and the Green Line is double what it was when service was provided by buses alone.
> When the line started, it wasn’t unheard of for a trip to hit 60 minutes end-to-end. Now, with scheduled times at 45 minutes end-to-end, we are within 5 minutes of that mark about 85 percent of the time.
> In March, the East Bank Station hit 1 million total boardings, the first station to do so.
> Riders are using us to get to special events: Vikings at TCF: 24 percent of fans used the Green Line; Rolling Stones: About 7,500 fans took a total of 15,000 rides; Saints opening: 31,764 fans, 1,900 took the Green Line; Twins: 900 more per game using Metro Transit than did last year, which can largely be attributed to the Green Line.
A full list of businesses taking part in Anniversary promotions can be found at metrotransit.org/celebrate-green. There, people can also find additional information about the Green Line, including video and photographic histories of the project.
Metro Transit is a service of the Metropolitan Council. Customers boarded buses and trains operated by Metro Transit more than 84.5 million times in 2014.
Contact: Howie Padilla, Public Relations Manager, 612-349-7089, email@example.com