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Bolstered by population growth in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and expanded transit service, Metro Transit posted a 3.5 percent ridership gain in 2014 compared with 2013. Total transit ridership of 97.7 million rides was the highest mark in more than three decades.The increase was registered across all providers in the region's seven-county area. The ridership gain was helped by the June 2014 opening of the METRO Green Line light-rail transit service along the University Avenue corridor, according to a press release issued by the Metropolitan Council, which oversees the regional light-rail and bus system and Northstar commuter rail."Investment in public transit pays off in ridership," said Metropolitan Council Chair Adam Duininck. "The more we invest in transit, the more convenient and reliable the service becomes and the more people use it."The Green Line accounted for 6.5 million rides through 2014's end and the Northstar commuter-rail line accounted for more than 721,000 rides. The METRO Blue Line — which provides light-rail service connecting Minneapolis to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Paul International Airport, the Mall of America and points in between — provided about 9.5 million rides last year."As the region grows, we look forward to growing along with it, continuing to exceed our riders’ expectations, connecting people with our communities," said Metro Transit General Manager Brian Lamb.