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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Metro Transit served more riders in 2013


Metro Transit posted a slight uptick in ridership on its trains and buses in 2013, the agency reported late last week.

Nearly 81.3 million rides were logged last year, up 0.4 percent compared with 2012, Metro Transit officials said in a press release.

"Only twice in 32 years has Metro Transit ridership reached this level," said General Manager Brian Lamb. "In 2013, we provided 5 million more rides than just four years ago."

Annual ridership in 2013 included a 12.4 percent increase on the Northstar commuter-rail service, the highest number in the line's four-year history thanks to a fare reduction that was made permanent and the opening of the new Ramsey station, Metro Transit officials said. Riders boarded Northstar trains 787,239 times last year.

Ridership on the Metro Blue Line dropped 3.2 percent to 10.2 million. Planned service interruptions for construction and maintenance projects dampened weekend ridership, officials said. Projects included the first-ever smoothing of all track, completion of the junction with the Metro Green Line and accommodating a major rebuilding of the roadway interchange at 34th Avenue and Interstate 494 in Bloomington, Minn.

Average weekday ridership on the region's first light-rail line continues to exceed projections for the year 2020 by more than 25 percent, they said.