Metro Mobility tends to have some of its biggest daily weekday ridership during November and December. Last week the para-transit service that provides door-to-door rides for those who are unable to use traditional buses or trains surpassed 8,000 rides on a single day for the first time in its history.
The 8,123 rides on Dec. 3 helped Metro Mobility record its busiest week on record, with an average daily ridership of 7,500, said Metropolitan Transportation Services Director Arlene McCarthy during Monday's Metropolitan Council's Transportation Committee meeting.
Over the past three years, Metro Mobility has seen weekday ridership surge during the months of November and December, although the reason for it was not clear, said senior manager Andrew Krueger.
The uptick in ridership during the last two months of the year are indicative of overall growth of the service that provides rides for people with disabilities
In 2006, Metro Mobility provided 1,261,054 rides. By 2010 that has risen to 1,494,877 and to 1,977,205 last year. Projections for 2015 put ridership to nearly 2.1 million, according to the Metropolitan Council.
As ridership has grown by 66 percent, so has Metro Mobility's budget. It was $32 million in 2006. A decade later the budget for 2015 was $62.23 million. It is an expensive service with each ride costing about $26, covered through fares and money from the state.
Riders pay $3 per ride during off-peak hours and $4 per ride during peak hours, slightly more than riders who use regular route or express buses operated by Metro Transit. Last year, Metro Mobility also introduced a $1 downtown fare in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Metro Mobility, which was named the "Transit System of the Year" by the Minnesota Public Transit Association, has 488 vehicles in its fleet and contracts with three service providers to provide rides in all or parts of Carver, Scott, Hennepin, Dakota, Anoka, Ramsey and Washington counties.