Metro Transit is reporting that nearly 80.9 million rides were taken last year on its buses, light rail and Northstar commuter line.

That's an increase of 3.5 percent, or 2.7 million rides, over 2010, Metro Transit officials said Tuesday.

Last year's 80,886,892 rides fell a bit short of the record of 81.8 million in 2008.

The total also marks the fifth consecutive time ridership topped 76 million in a year.

Bus ridership in 2011 was 69.8 million, the Hiawatha light rail line had 10.4 million rides, just 55,000 shy of the record total in 2010. Northstar tallied 703,000 rides last year. That number would have been higher, but a freight derailment shut down the line for several days.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482