More people are riding Twin Cities buses and trains, according to 2014 data released last week by the Metropolitan Council. Here are some of the highlights:
Transit providers in the seven-county metro area delivered 97.7 million rides on buses and trains last year, an increase of 3.5 percent over 2013.
Metro Transit rides
The area’s largest transit supplier provided 84.5 million rides last year, an increase of 3.1 million rides from 2013.
Heavy on light rail
Much of Metro Transit’s jump was credited to the June opening of the Green Line light-rail line between Target Field in Minneapolis and Union Depot in St. Paul. Transit users took more than 6.5 million rides on the $957 million line.
Another 9.5 million used the Blue Line between downtown Minneapolis and the Mall of America in Bloomington. In total, light-rail ridership on the Green and Blue lines was just shy of 16 million for the year.
Big on buses
Metro Transit provided 67.8 million bus rides in 2014.
That included 788,097 rides on Maple Grove Transit routes contracted by Metro Transit. Total ridership on Maple Grove Transit buses was 830,980.
The University of Minnesota bus service saw a 10 percent increase in ridership.
Metro Mobility, the door-to-door service for people with disabilities, saw an 8.2 percent growth and provided more than 2 million rides.
More than 720,000 passengers took a ride on the Northstar Commuter line.
Minnesota Valley Transit Authority (MVTA) said 2014 was a record-breaking year. The agency that serves several suburbs south of the Minnesota River provided 2.8 million rides, an increase of 3.9 percent over 2013. The boost was partly due to 265,479 rides on the Metro Red Line, the bus rapid transit service which runs along Cedar Avenue between the Mall of America and Apple Valley.
Ridership on Plymouth Metrolink buses totaled 509,396, while SouthWest Transit recorded 1.107 million. Shakopee, Prior Lake and BlueXpress, which all merged with the MVTA on Jan. 1, provided just over 217,000 rides.
What he said
“Investment in public transit pays off in ridership,” said new Met Council Chair Adam Duininck, who was sworn in Wednesday. “The more we invest in transit, the more convenient and reliable the service becomes and the more people use it.”