Metro Transit provided 575,348 rides to and from the Minnesota State Fair, a high-water mark for the agency.
The Minnesota Valley Transit Authority also saw huge gains, with ridership up 18 percent over 2014 numbers, said spokeswoman Robin Selvig,
SouthWest Transit also reported record ridership, providing 89,937 rides to the State Fair.
Figures released Friday by Metro Transit showed that ridership on express buses and on regular route lines that serve the fairgrounds was up 8 percent over 2014. Bus riders also accounted for 16 percent of the 1.8 million fairgoers, the highest percentage since 2008. More than 90 percent of riders took express buses to the fair.
The busiest day for Metro Transit was Aug. 29 when Metro Transit provided 70,600 rides from its 13 metro area park and ride lots and on three regular routes that serve the fair, routes 3, 61 and 84. The total also included rides provided on special route 960, which ran from downtown Minneapolis to the fairgrounds.
“Riding the bus to the State Fair has become as much a part of the experience as riding the Ferris wheel or eating a Pronto Pup,” Metro Transit General Manager Brian Lamb said. “We thank all those who traveled with us and look forward to continuing the tradition of giving people a fun, safe and convenient way to celebrate the best our state has to offer.”
The agency said all operating costs were covered by the $5 round trip fare collected on express service and the normal fares collected on regular-route service and Route 960.
Meanwhile, MVTA provided 67,766 rides to and from the fair. The agency credited the big jump to expanded weekend service to and from the Marschall Road Transit Station in Shakopee and weekday service added in Eagan Transit Station. Last year, service from Eagan was only on weekends and Labor Day.
"Ridership from the Burnsville Transit Station was exceptionally strong this year,” said Clint Hooppaw, MVTA Chair and Apple Valley Councilmember, "The addition of weekday service from Eagan was the icing on the cake and with the weekend ridership from the Marschall Road Transit Station in Shakopee nearly doubling, we are very proud of the 2015 State Fair Express Bus Service.”
Here are some specifics provided by MVTA:
- Weekday ridership from the Burnsville Transit Station was 19,597.
- Weekday ridership from the Eagan Transit Station was 5.866.
- Weekend (two Saturdays, two Sundays and Labor Day) ridership from the Burnsville Transit Station was 21,935.
- Weekend ridership from the Eagan Transit Station was 13,708.
- New this year was weekend service from the Marschall Road Transit Station in Shakopee and ridership was 6,660 (nearly double the 2014 ridership).