Buses, Trains Filling Up As Gas Prices Rise

By Reg Chapman, WCCO-TV

— With gas prices in the Twin Cities reaching nearly $3.90 per gallon, drivers are turning more and more to public transportation.

Metro Transit said it has not seen this many passengers on buses and trains since 2008, when gas hit $4 per gallon.

“The new park and ride facility that we have at Kendrick Avenue in Lakeville, over the last 18 months, ridership has doubled on that route,” said Metro Transit spokesman John Siqveland.

In the first quarter of 2011, Metro Transit’s bus and rail service overall ridership is up 2 percent over 2010.

“I have a meeting at Lake and Lyndale, so I decided to just pop on the bus,” Gayle Trest, a commuter, said Tuesday afternoon.

Trest is part of a growing trend of people riding the bus or train to save money.

Metro Transit is not alone.

Northstar commuter rail is up 6 percent, Southwest Transit ridership is up 10 percent and Minnesota Valley Transit Authority has seen its numbers up 6.4 percent, which is the highest in the company’s history.

AAA said in 2011 that the average cost to operate and maintain your car may be more than $8,700, but that was when gas was at $2.88 per gallon.

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