Publish date:

Metro Transit ridership plummeted between January and March

The Met Council's quarterly report showed a declining transit ridership, following past trends

Ridership on Metro Transit dropped sharply during the first three months of 2019, mirroring recent trends.

In a first quarter report released Monday, the Met Council revealed local bus ridership (which makes up more than half of its total rides) has decreased from around 11.4 million rides over this time last year to around 10.4 million in 2019, a drop of 9 percent.

It comes amid a wider decline in bus ridership, which has continued to fall since 2013. From 2017 to 2018, ridership went from around 55 million to around 53 million.

The report highlights bad weather days, cheap car travel, and the fare increases introduced in late 2017 as explanations for this decline.

From Jan. 27 to Jane 29, the record-breaking polar vortex, ridership on almost all services plummeted, as it did during several major snowstorms that led to a historic number of school cancelations in the Twin Cities metro.

Screen Shot 2019-06-11 at 8.33.59 AM

While a February report showed ridership on both the Green Line and Blue Line light rail services grew in 2018, those services too have seen a slight drop this quarter.

Light rail ridership in the first quarter, at around 5.7 million in 2018, was around 5.5 million in 2019, a decrease of 4 percent.

Northstar commuter line ridership is also down from 190,607 rides last year to 174,694 this year. The services makes up less than 1 percent of all Metro Transit rides.

The Met Council does note light rail ridership still follows an overall growth trend, and Northstar ridership fell only slightly from a “historic high” in 2017, it states.

While commuter and express bus ridership also fell, the Met Council identified freeway improvements and construction as a potential opportunity, noting the service can mitigate the congestion. 

Here's a look at the full figures from the first quarter.

Screen Shot 2019-06-11 at 7.40.39 AM

Next Up

Anthony Edwards

Ant's rally not enough to save Timberwolves

Edwards' third-quarter explosion came too late in a loss to the Pelicans.

Rent, mortgage, house, key, door

Victims of property manager's sexual harassment to get $736,000

It's part of a consent decree announced by the Department of Justice Monday.

The Liffey Pub Facebook

St. Paul's Irish pub The Liffey reveals it won't reopen

The beloved pub has been closed since the start of the pandemic.

Proctor football

Proctor football investigation: Case goes to county attorney

The office will review the evidence and consider possible criminal charges.

kirsten mitchell screegrab

'I’m heading home!': CA reporter announces return to WCCO

Kirsten Mitchell interned at WCCO years ago. Now, she's coming back as a reporter.


As part of price gouging settlement, farm to donate 1M eggs to food nonprofits

The egg producer will donate more than 1 million eggs to nonprofits fighting hunger.

plane, Piper PA-32

Sheriff: Witnesses saw plane 'performing aerial maneuvers' before fatal crash

The single-engine aircraft went down in northern Wisconsin, killing a brother and sister.

Screen Shot 2021-10-25 at 8.51.02 AM

Community rallies around Minnetonka HS dancer battling brain tumor

A fundraiser raised more than $44,000 of its $60,000 goal in the first two days.

twin city gardens

In rare move, MDH takes control of Minneapolis nursing home

The temporary receivership is to ensure resident safety.

Sen Mark Koran crop

Lawmaker deletes post encouraging donations to family charged in Capitol riot

Sen. Mark Koran, in his Facebook post, described them as "a good family!"


light rail

Pandemic still significantly impacting Metro Transit ridership

Transit officials said there are signs ridership is slowly rebounding.

Blue Line light rail Metro Transit

Metro Transit workers threaten strike

Unionized Metro Transit workers rejected a contract offer from the Metropolitan Council by a 94% vote.

Screen Shot 2020-04-13 at 3.57.21 PM

Free Metro Mobility rides for health care workers to end March 1

The Met Council cites growing ridership among paying customers and vaccine availability

metro transit

Face masks required on all Metro Transit vehicles

Riders can't be denied service, but additional steps may be taken if people don't follow the rules.

snow, buses, metro transit

Metro Transit to limit rider numbers on buses maintain social distancing

The announcement comes as Metro Transit has seen a sharp decrease in ridership.