Bus ridership accounted for the year-over-year gain, posting a 4.5 percent increase to 52.3 million rides.
Ridership increased in all three types of bus service:
• Urban local routes - the heart of all-day service - increased 4.3 percent, or 1.8 million rides to 43.8 million.
• Freeway-oriented express bus routes were up 5.1 percent, or 351,000 rides to 7.3 million.
• Suburban crosstown routes grew 5.9 percent, or 70,500 rides to 1.3 million.Train ridership lags
Both the Hiawatha light-rail and Northstar commuter rail lines saw slight declines in their January-September ridership.
• Hiawatha was down 1.6 percent to 7.8 million.
• Northstar was down 1.9 percent to 552,000.
Average weekday commuter ridership was up -- Hiawatha up 1.3% and Northstar up 6.6% -- but off-peak ridership was down. Metro Transit officials attributed the decline to fewer special-event rides to Twins and Vikings games and other downtown events. Northstar was further affected by a freight train derailment near Fridley in mid-July that halted rail service for several days.Shooting for No. 2
Hiawatha light rail is on pace to deliver the second-highest annual ridership in its 7-year history, Metro Transit said. Last year was the highest, at 10.5 million rides.Success in the cards
Through September, 221,000 individuals used Go-To Cards to pay fares on Metro Transit buses and trains -- more cards than were used in all of 2010, the agency reported. Go-To Cards now make up 41 percent of all fare transactions.