Metro Transit broke the single-day light-rail ridership record the day that the NCAA Men’s Final Four championship game was played in downtown Minneapolis, according to numbers released Friday.
The Blue and Green light-rail lines recorded 130,896 rides on Monday April 8, when the University of Virginia beat Texas Tech University for the national crown.
That surpassed the previous record of 122,688 rides on Sept. 11, 2017, when the Minnesota Vikings played their first regular season game against the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football, according to Metro Transit spokesman Howie Padilla.
Like the Vikings’ game, the NCAA championship basketball game was played at U.S. Bank Stadium on a Monday, when workers were using light-rail transit to get to and from their jobs.
The Green Line to and from downtown St. Paul provided 68,210 rides on the championship game day, while the Blue Line to and from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and the Mall of America in Bloomington provided 62,686 rides.
That made it the busiest day for the Green Line since Oct. 3, 2016, when the Vikings played the New York Giants in their first Monday night game at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Blue Line’s previous single-day ridership record was set on Aug. 24, 2018, when the Vikings and the Twins both played home games on top of regular Friday commuter traffic.
In all, Metro Transit reported 498,495 light-rail riders on the four-day Final Four weekend, nearly 160,000 more than during the same four-day period the week before.
“As Minnesota sports fans and visitors can attest, transit is the most convenient, affordable and enjoyable way to get to and from large events,” Metro Transit General Manager Wes Kooistra said.
Metro Transit reported that 5,500 fans rode the train to Minnesota United’s inaugural match at Allianz Field last Saturday.
All the major Twin Cities stadiums are on the light-rail lines, including CHS Field in downtown St. Paul, TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus and Target Field in downtown Minneapolis.