What’s making news in Minneapolis, reported by the Star Tribune’s team of city reporters. Send news tips to baird.helgeson@startribune.com.

Report: Metro Transit ridership is up

Posted by: Emma Nelson under Light rail and rail transit Updated: March 3, 2014 - 3:22 PM

Ridership on Metro Transit buses and trains was up last year, but the on-time rate was down.

In a report released Monday, the agency also said fewer college students used student transit passes last year, including a big drop in UPass use at the University of Minnesota.

Seven fewer colleges and more than a thousand fewer students used the Metro Transit College Pass in 2013 than in 2012, and the number of UPass users dropped 35 percent.

Across the board, buses and trains were on time less often. While buses, light rail and North Star trains all hovered around 90 percent on-time performance in both years, all saw a drop in 2013.

Still, the transit system, which covers more than 900 square miles in the metro area, gave nearly 400,000 more rides in 2013 than in 2012. The split between bus and rail ridership stayed about the same, with the vast majority of transit users taking buses.

The system’s fleet has also increased. According to the report, additions included:

  • 16 40-foot diesel buses
  • 3 60-foot articulated buses
  • 5 coach buses
  • 29 Blue Line light rail cars

Metro Transit also employed more people, including nearly 40 percent more light rail operators in 2013 than in 2012. That’s a big bump, considering only 3 percent more bus drivers were employed during that time. The other major increase came in security – nearly 50 percent more full- and part-time transit police officers were hired in 2013.

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