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Metro Transit's Northstar commuter-rail line posted a 15 percent increase in ridership during 2013's first half as part of an overall gain in people using public transit services in Minneapolis/St. Paul.Through June 30, riders boarded Metro Transit trains and buses 39.9 million times — 312,000, or 0.8 percent, more rides compared with the first six months of 2012."Transit ridership has continued to grow through the second quarter, as more commuters choose to avoid high gas prices and traffic congestion," said General Manager Brian Lamb in a press release.Northstar's ridership gain also was fueled by a fare adjustment that became permanent on May 1 and the opening of Ramsey Station in November 2012. In June, riders boarded Northstar trains an average of 3,058 times per weekday, the first time weekday ridership surpassed the 3,000 mark in the line's history, Metro Transit officials said.Meanwhile, ridership on the Metro Blue Line slipped 3.1 percent, or 156,000 rides, during the year's first half. Officials attributed the decrease to fewer rides to special events compared with last year. Still, average weekday ridership on the light-rail line continues to trend almost 30 percent ahead of projections for the year 2020, Metro Transit officials said.
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