By Holly Wagner, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — New figures show the Northstar Commuter Rail isn’t getting nearly as many riders as expected, but overall more people are taking public transit as they head to and from work.

The number of people riding trains and buses went up 2.3 percent in the last year according to Metro Transit. It’s only the fourth time in 30 years where ridership has exceeded 78 million.

More and more people are using the Hiawatha Light Rail. Ridership increased 6 percent in 2010, the most in the line’s six-year history.

Northstar didn’t fare as well in its first full year of service. According to Metro Transit, the numbers for ridership came in 21 percent lower than expected.

They say the weak economy and the unemployment rate had an impact. Officials believe fewer people headed to jobs in downtown Minneapolis.

According to Metro Transit, the unemployment rate contributed to fewer people heading to jobs in downtown Minneapolis.

Metro Transit is expecting the number of people using public transportation to continue to go up especially with increase as gas prices and the sluggish economy.

Comments (12)
  1. Peg says:

    Metro Transit should be ashamed of themselves and they need to clean up the bus stops. I think its horrible that they have people of all ages standing in the dangerous street waiting for their buses. Come on, hire some temps to clean the stops, ALL OF THE STOPS!!!!!!

    1. T says:

      Met Transit is NOT responsible for this. You can file a complaint with the city and whoever owns that part of the sidewalk area has to shovel within so many days before they get a hefty fine as the city would then plow it.

  2. tracy says:

    Perhaps the Northstar isn’t faring as well because it is expensive, noisy and inconvenient, with no midday trips. I’ll stick with the bus, thank you very much.

    1. Banned the Northstar says:

      Right on Tracy. I don’t take the Northstar because I can drive 10-15 more mins and pay regular bus fare instead of the outrageous rate they charge for the train. The train is very disruptive, with the announcement of the stops and people. I don’t know what it is, but rider etiquette does not exist on the train. I like my transit ride to be where I can read a book and relax a bit to program in/out for the day and the train ride does NOT do that, the bus does. Long live the bus system!

  3. Sarah says:

    I’ve stopped driving in to work downtown St. Paul and taking the bus from the parking ride, it’s saving me in gas, parking and sanity. When the lightrail between St. Paul and Minneapolis is complete I plan to take advantage of that too, glad to see ridership is up.

  4. toni says:

    Metro Transit is NOT responsible for shoveling the bus stops. The city is

  5. stace34 says:

    Once there is a light rail between Minneapolis and St Paul, Northstar ridership might go up. Now it is only really convinient for Minneapolis workers. Once that expands to more cities the ridership will go up. I do believe that they need more times as well. Make in convienient for people going to the airport, or other sporting events in the Metro.

  6. Riley says:

    I live in St. Paul and CANNOT wait for the day that the light rail is up and running between St. Paul and Minneapolis. As of now I have no reason to go to either one because of the cost and the quality of the parking in both cities.

  7. Kevin says:

    I’m hugely in favor of mass transit and love the idea of light rail, but my God how did they ever expect the Northstar route to make a go of it? The schedule is absolutely ridiculous with just limited service. The public officials behind that idea need to go.

    1. toni says:

      the reason why it’s only limted service is becasue they share the tracks with burlington northern

      1. todd says:

        BNSF has already been pretty clear that they will adjust operations as the MCTO sees fit. The fact that the Northstar locomotives burn about 100 gallons of diesel an hout might be a contributing factor as well.

  8. Paula says:

    I believe that more people will be riding the bus as the gallon of gas continues to soar!!

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