Metro Transit provided slightly more than 42.2 million rides on trains and buses during the first six months of 2015, up 6 percent or 2.4 million rides over the same time period last year.

But that’s not enough to keep the region’s largest public transportation provider on pace with its goal of 87.5 million rides for the year. 

The agency was short by 377,000 rides, according to a summary that Chief Operating Officer Vince Pellegrin delivered to the Met Council last week.

Big gains were posted on the Blue Line light-rail line, where ridership has rebounded after a down year in 2014.

Through June, about 5 million rides were taken on the 11-mile line running between downtown Minneapolis and the Mall of America. That is an increase of 14 percent over last year.

The Green Line, running between downtown Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul, counted 5.6 million rides.

 

 

Ridership on the Northstar line between downtown Minneapolis and the northern suburbs has held steady at 344,000 rides.

Special events fueled the surge in rail ridership.

The Blue Line recorded its best Saturday ridership of the year on June 20 with 84,000 rides. There was a Twins game at Target Field and concerts at TCF Bank Stadium and the Walker Art Center.

Pellegrin said Twins attendance has also contributed.

“The Twins are pitching a lot better,” he told the council. “Usually we can clear the platform [at Target Field] in a half-hour. It’s been taking 45 to 50 minutes this year.”

While rail ridership has been up, bus ridership has been in reverse.

The agency provided 31.2 million rides between January and June.

The weekday average was at 207,000, about 10 percent below last year’s daily average.

Pellegrin attributed some of the drop-off to the fact that more people are using the Green Line along University Avenue.

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