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SouthWest Transit raises fares for State Fair express service

Metro Transit bus and rail fares are not the only ones going up. This year it will cost more to take SouthWest Transit express service to the State Fair.

Round trip rides from the southwestern suburbs to the fair will cost $8 for adults, up from $5 in previous years. The first fare hike for State Fair express service in 20 years is necessary to cover increasing costs for fuel, staffing and weekday parking lot rental, said the transit agency's CEO Len Simich.

“We are not looking to make money from the State Fair service,” he said. “We are just pricing the service similar to our everyday Express Service. Our goal is to break even while still providing the excellent service people have come to expect from SouthWest Transit.”

While single adult fares for ages 13 to 64 will go to $8, two adults can ride for $15. Seniors 65 and older, members of the military with identification and youth ages 6 to 12 will continue to ride for $5 while those 5 and younger and disabled veterans with identification will ride free.

Riders must pay cash. Metropasses, Go-To Cards or other discounted passes or promotional passes will not be accepted.

SouthWest will offer weekday service from Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie and weekend service from SouthWest Station in Eden Prairie, SouthWest Village in Chanhassen and East Creek Station in Chaska.

The Minnesota State Fair Aug. 24 to Sept. 4.

A look at how much it costs to ride the bus in other U.S. cities

The Metropolitan Council voted Wednesday to raise metro area bus fares by 25 cents. The cost to take a local off-peak bus or light-rail ride will rise to $2. Express bus fares would go up to $2.50.

New fares will go into effect on Oct. 1. Twin Cities bus fares were last raised in 2008.

The regional planning body anticipates a $110 million deficit by fiscal 2020-21, mainly due to "inflationary pressures," growing demand for federally mandated Metro Mobility service, and an anticipated reduction in revenue from the motor vehicle sales tax.

The fare hike would raise an estimated $6.7 million in 2018, but would come with a projected ridership decline of 3.8 million rides, the council said.

Metro Transit provided more than 80 million rides to passengers in 2016.

In comparison, here is what it costs to take a non-peak bus ride in other U.S. cities according to cash fares posted on transit websites. Omaha and Houston had the lowest fares while Denver had the highest:

Omaha and Houston: $1.25

Kansas City: $1.50

Nashville $1.70

Indianapolis and Los Angeles: $1.75

Baltimore $1.80

Phoenix, Boston, Chicago, St. Louis: $2

Miami and Milwaukee: $2.25

Atlanta, Dallas, Portland, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Philadelphia: $2.50

Denver: $2.60