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.

Comments (8)
  1. CJ Camp says:

    Probably ought to cut funding then, for sure.

  2. Brian says:

    This shows how out of touch Republicans are with reality. We are nearing record ridership, yet they put a HUGE cut to Metro Transit’s funding into the budget!

    Good thing Dayton and Democrats worked to hold the line on funding and reduce the cut the Republicans proposed.

  3. Pavol says:

    Typical Republican planning. The rich don’t ride public transit so they vote against it. They don’t drive on your street so why pay for maintenance?

  4. dan says:

    Wonderful! That’s 1.2 million more people receiving subsidies in Minnesota. Why not raise the fare prices to cover the actual cost? I forgot we have Dayton and his band of gypsies running the show

  5. curly_racks says:

    Dan, I am all for raising the fares to cover the cost when we raise gas/registration taxes on motor vehicles to actually cover the costs associated with driving automobiles too!

    1. dan says:

      So a .27.2 cents per gallon tax is not enough tax to cover roads and emissions? I think the money is being funneled into more pork projects. Motor Vehicle drivers pay well more than the cost associated with maintenance and upgrades.

      1. curly_racks says:

        Do you actually have any idea how much roads cost to construct and mainatain? Obviously not cause if you did you would note that general fund expenditures also go towards roads. I own three cars and drive for errands and travel but use the bus to commute. My empoloyer subsizes my Metropass so the cost is about half a tank of gas in my SUV. Transit reduces congestion and pollution by moving many riders at once as opposed to every one of us taking our own cars to work. Roads benefit all Americans by moving goods (which is actually more cost effective by train in most cases) allowing effecient travel to work and for leisure, and don’t forget suburban sprawl. However, both systems benefit the general welfare of all citizens and unless we institiute some mileage based travel tax instituted equally on all drivers (leisure, workers, and transporters) I don’t want to hear about ending subsidies for transit because whether you want to admit or not gas and registration taxes do not cover the maintenance costs of roads. You know how poorly the roads are maintained in this country.

        1. curly_racks says:


          · Gasoline taxes aren’t “user fees” in any meaningful sense of the term – The amount of money a particular driver pays in gasoline taxes bears little relationship to his or her use of roads funded by gas taxes.

          · State gas taxes are often not “extra” fees – Most states exempt gasoline from the state sales tax, diverting much of the money that would have gone into a state’s general fund to roads.

          · Federal gas taxes have typically not been devoted exclusively to highways – Since its 1934 inception, Congress only temporarily dedicated gas tax revenues fully to highways during the brief 17-year period beginning in 1956. This was at the start of construction for the Interstate highway network, a project completed in the 1990s.

          · Highways don’t pay for themselves — Since 1947, the amount of money spent on highways, roads and streets has exceeded the amount raised through gasoline taxes and other so-called “user fees” by $600 billion (2005 dollars), representing a massive transfer of general government funds to highways.

          · Highways “pay for themselves” less today than ever. Currently, highway “user fees” pay only about half the cost of building and maintaining the nation’s network of highways, roads and streets.

          · These figures fail to include the many costs imposed by highway construction on non-users of the system, including damage to the environment and public health and encouragement of sprawling forms of development that impose major costs on the environment and government finances.

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