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8/9/2004



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Hiawatha's first month of service a ridership success



During its first full month of operation, Minneapolis’ Hiawatha light-rail line exceeded ridership projects almost 100 percent, carrying 462,400 passengers in July.

July ridership was bolstered by special events and fans taking trains to Minnesota Twins’ games, according to a prepared statement. Weekday ridership averaged 16,000 passengers; officials at operator Metro Transit had projected an average of 9,500 daily passengers. Weekend ridership also was strong, averaging 13,500 passengers on Saturdays compared with a projected 4,300, and 11,900 passengers on Sundays and holidays, compared with a projected 2,100.

But it’s premature to project long-term ridership trends based on 30 days of service, Metro Transit officials said.

The agency opened the $715.3 million Hiawatha line — comprising an eight-mile, 12-station portion between Minneapolis and Fort Snelling — in late June. In December, the rest of the 12-mile, 17-station alignment will open, providing service to the airport, Bloomington and the Mall of America.


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