Transit ridership up 3.5 percent in 2014

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Transit ridership was up 3.5 percent across all providers in the seven-county metro area in 2014, according to the Metropolitan Council.

Total transit ridership was 97.7 million rides.

Metro Transit, the region’s largest provider, had a nearly 4 percent increase in users. It reported 84.5 million trips last year on buses and trains — the highest amount since 1981.

The opening of the Green Line connecting downtown Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul in June 2014 buoyed ridership with 6.5 million rides reported on the LRT line for its first year in operation.

The University of Minnesota bus service and Metro Mobility, which serves people with disabilities, also experienced significant increases in ridership levels.

“Investment in public transit pays off in ridership,” said Adam Duininck, the new Metropolitan Council chair. “The more we invest in transit, the more convenient and reliable the service becomes and the more people use it. Governor Dayton’s proposed half-cent metro sales tax would expedite the build-out of this region’s 21st century transit system and would be a smart investment in area residents, the economy, our workforce, and the environment.” 

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By the numbers: Transit ridership in 2014

—   67.8 million: Total number of Metro Transit bus rides in the Twin Cities

—   721,000: Number of Northstar Commuter Rail Line rides

—   9.5 million: Number of Blue Line rides

—   224,208: average weekday rides on buses

—   62,192: average weekday rides on light rail