Metro Transit ridership increases to 40 million

Cody Nelson

Twin Cities commuters have chosen Metro Transit for rides nearly 40 million times so far this year.

Metro Transit released its mid-year report on Wednesday, showing a 0.8 percent increase in overall number of rides provided from last year.

"Transit ridership has continued to grow through the second quarter as more commuters choose to avoid high gas prices and traffic congestion," Metro Transit General Manager Brian Lamb said in a news release.

The Northstar commuter rail line, which connects northern suburbs to downtown Minneapolis, had a 15 percent increase in riders.

Light rail ridership, however, is down from this time last year. The Metro Blue light rail line, formerly known as the Hiawatha line, had a 3.1 percent decrease in use, which is about 156,000 riders.

For buses, suburban local service had the greatest increase in ridership, increasing by 25,000 rides or 3.3 percent. Urban local and express bus services had smaller growth of one percent and 2.6 percent, respectively.