In my Monday column that appeared in the print edition, I talked about the options for taking the bus to the State Fair, which begins Thursday and runs through Labor Day. Since then, a number of readers have called and emailed with questions. 

They've wanted to know everything about where to catch the buses, how much the fares are and what hours buses run. Others have wanted to know more about the free buses or regular-route servcie that pass by the fairgrounds.

While I've tried to get back to most of them with individual answers, it seem that if one person asking somebody else out there probably has the same question. Here is the scoop:

Express buses will run from 20 suburban park and ride lots with service from Metro Transit from 8 a.m. to midnight. I've put the list at the bottom of this post. Others operated by BlueXpress, Minnesota Valley Transit Authority and SouthWest Transit have slightly different hours and days. The round-trip fare is $5 and free for children 4 and under.   Parking at the lots is free.

Bargain bus tickets for $4.50 are available if you by them by Wednesday. Group tickets for two are $9 and a group of four is $15. They are available online or at a Metro Transit service center.

Regular route service will serve the fairgrounds. Those include Route 3 along Como Avenue, Route 84 on Snelling Avenue. The regular peak fare of $2.25 applies in each direction and $1.75 off peak in each direction. Keep in mind that Route 84 connects to the Green Line at the Snelling Avenue Station, so a train-bus combo is another transit option.

Special Route 960 from downtown Minneapolis to the fairgrounds runs about every 15 minutes from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.  Return service runs from noon to midnight. The regular peak fare of $2.25 applies in each direction and $1.75 off peak in each direction.

The State Fair also runs 33 parking free lots at various sites close to the fairgrounds. Free buses to and from the lots run 8 a.m. to midnight.

Seniors 65 and older can take regular route service for 75 cents provided trips are taken during off-peak times.  That means before 6 a.m. and after 9 a.m,. and before 3 p.m. or after 6:30 p.m.  Otherwise the regular $2.25 fare applies.

At the fairgrounds, alll State Fair Express buses, charter and Metro Transit Regular Route #960 buses, as well as most Park & Ride buses will arrive and depart from the new Transit Hub on the west end of the grounds. This is the new West Market Area where Heritage Square used to be.  A few buses will stop at the Snelling Avenue entrance while Route 3 will still operate on Como Avenue.

Here is where and when expess buses will operate according to Metro Transit.

Service Approximately Every 15 Minutes

1 National Sports Center – 1700 105th Ave. NE

2 Brookdale Square – Brooklyn Center, 5900 Shingle Creek Pkwy., NE corner of Shingle Creek Pkwy. & Bass Lake Rd.

3 I-394 & Co. Rd. 73 Park & Ride – Minnetonka, SW corner of I-394 & Co. Rd. 73

4 Parade Stadium – Minneapolis, 600 Kenwood Pkwy.  (across from Dunwoody)

5 Bloomington – 82nd St. & 24th Ave. S., across from Mall of America East parking ramp

Service Approximately Every Half Hour

6 Fridley Station – Fridley, 61st Ave. & Main St. NE

7 Marcus Oakdale Cinema – Oakdale, 5677 Hadley Ave. N. – NE corner of lot

8 Signal Hills Shopping Center – West St. Paul, South Robert St. & Butler Ave. (near Kmart)

9 Cottage Grove Park & Ride – Cottage Grove, along Hwy. 61 on West Point Douglas Rd. between 80th St. and Jamaica Ave.

10 Maplewood Mall Transit Center – 1793 Beam Ave. (board on Southlawn Dr.)


Weekends and Labor Day only


Cash or Bus Bargain Tickets accepted at these locations

Service Approximately Every 15 Minutes

11 Dunwoody College of Technology – Minneapolis, I-394 & Dunwoody Blvd.

12 Knox Ave. at Best Buy Park & Ride – Richfield, 7701 Knox Ave.

Service Approximately Every Half Hour

13 Maple Grove Transit Station – I-94 and Hemlock Lane


Additional Express Service


NOTE: Bus Bargain Tickets not valid at these locations. Cash only.

SouthWest Transit

(Last bus 11:30 p.m.)

14 Wooddale Church – 6630 Shady Oak Rd., Eden Prairie.
Weekdays only. Service approximately every half hour from 8 a.m.

15 SouthWest Station – 13500 Technology Dr., Eden Prairie. 
Weekends and Labor Day. Service approximately every half hour from 7 a.m.

16 SouthWest Village – Hwy. 212 & Hwy. 101, Chanhassen. 
Weekends and Labor Day. Service pproximately every half hour from 7 a.m.

17 East Creek Station – Hwy. 212 & Hwy. 41, Chaska. 
Weekends and Labor Day. Service approximately every half hour from 7 a.m.


Minnesota Valley Transit Authority


18 Burnsville Transit Station – Hwy. 13 & Nicollet Ave.
Hourly service on weekdays; service every 30 minutes on weekends and Labor Day.

19 Eagan Transit Station – Yankee Doodle & Pilot Knob Road at I-35E. Service every 30 minutes on weekends and Labor Day.



20 Marschall Road Transit Station – 1615 Weston Court, Shakopee. Hourly service from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends and Labor Day.

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