Transit Ridership Grows In The Twin Cities

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — More people are avoiding high gas prices and jammed freeways by jumping on buses and trains.

According Metro Transit, in the first half of 2011, 39.6 million people boarded a bus or train. That’s up 1.2 million from this time last year. They say ridership in the month of June is up 6 percent, compared to June of 2010.

“If this pace continues, it appears that 2011 could rival the record ridership of 2008,” said Metro Transit General Manager Brian Lamb.

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Edgar Linares Reports

In 2008, ridership was the highest in half a century, Lamb said.

Mandy Musta, a frequent rider, permanently parked her car and began taking a train to work last April.

“Except for adding 15 minutes to my commute, my days are exactly the same.” said Musta. “There’s a little less stress because I don’t have to deal with traffic.”

Musta said the straw that broke the camels back was the $4 a gallon gas.

“No gas, no parking. I was paying about $150 a month to park,” said Musta.

Metro Transit said that in the past four years ridership on Metro Transit has exceeded 76 million, which is a benchmark that had not been previously surpassed since 1982.

In 2010, a total of 78 million rides were given by Metro Transit.

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