State Fair, Sporting Events Will Test Thursday Night Commute

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Whether you’re a fan, fair-goer or everyday commuter, getting around the Twin Cities Thursday evening will test your patience.

Transit leaders are urging commuters to plan ahead to avoid a rush of people heading home or to one of many major sporting events. That’s because beyond the folks heading to and from the Minnesota State Fair, there will be four other major sporting events drawing tens of thousands of fans.

The Minnesota Twins, Vikings, Gophers and Saints all have games on Thursday night.

This rail platform outside U.S. Bank stadium is like the calm before the storm.

“What you can expect is you’re going to have a lot of company,” Metro Transit spokesman Howie Padilla said.

Padilla adds that if you’re planning to ride the light rail to any of Thursday’s events, buy your tickets ahead of time. That will help you avoid those long lines at the stations.

“Go online and buy an all-day pass. That pass goes from whenever you buy it until 2 a.m. That way you don’t have to wait at the ticket booths,” Padilla said.

More than 250,000 fans are expected to be moving between venues – from fun loving, food eating fair goers to the Vikings, Twins, Gopher or Saints fans.  Not to mention tens of thousands of normal rush hour commuters.

Metro Transit says that’s why all available operators, police and ambassadors will be working, and all buses and trains will be in service.

“It will be a challenge,” said Move Minneapolis Spokesman John Barobs.

He explains that’s why the transportation management organization is reaching out to downtown businesses – hoping to encourage car-pooling, working from home or altered shifts.

“Find out from your employer if that’s an option. Also flextime scheduling. If they can come in early and leave early, that’s highly recommended,” Barobs said.

One last suggestion is to follow Metro Transit on Twitter and Facebook. The agency will be posting travel updates throughout the night – one very busy night.

“There’s just a ton of excitement about so many things going on now,” Padilla said.

It was nearly a year ago on Sept. 3 when Metro Transit carried more than 100,000 passengers by light rail. Padilla says that record will likely fall Thursday night.

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