While the State Fair enjoyed record-setting attendance of more than 2 million people, fewer people took express or regular-route buses to the Great Minnesota Get Together in 2018 than they did the previous year.
Metro Transit provided just about 595,000 rides during the fair's 12-day run, a decline of about 9 percent from the previous year. Still, it was the third highest total since State Fair express service began.
The agency did set a daily record of 83,500 rides on Sept. 1, the same day the fair reported its busiest day ever when 270,426 people passed through the gates.
Metro Transit provided service from 19 suburban park-and-ride lots. The busiest was the Bloomington lot near the Mall of America where 94,000 rides were taken. Maplewood Mall had the biggest jump in ridership with an increase of 65 percent compared to 2017.
Minnesota Valley Transit Authority ferried 86,082 people to and from the fair, but that was down slightly from the 87,370 provided in 2017. The agency, which ran buses from Burnsville and Shakopee, did set a daily ridership record on Sept. 1 with 14,991 rides, an agency spokesman said.
SouthWest Transit had its best year ever by providing 104,378 rides. That beat the old mark of 100,034 rides set in 2016.
Like Metro Transit and MVTA, the last Saturday of the fair was SouthWest's busiest with 14,462 rides setting a single-day record. SouthWest also had its highest opening day ridership with 9,700.