Green Line already meeting next year's weekday ridership goal

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The newly opened Green Line light rail train is already meeting its 2015 weekday ridership goal in just its first week of operation.

Metro Transit said in a news release Wednesday that riders hopped on the Green Line 139,027 times from June 16-20, which comes out to an average daily ridership of 27,805 per weekday.

This pleases transit officials, who didn't expect to see ridership numbers like this until next year. Metro Transit had projected average weekday ridership to reach 27,500 by 2015.

“We are very encouraged to see initial ridership running at 2015 projections during these early summer days,” Metro Transit General Manager Brian Lamb said in the release.

Officials say that in the first week, some people hopped on the train, which connects Minneapolis and St. Paul downtowns, just to say they did and won't necessarily use it daily, the Pioneer Press reports. But ridership numbers on the 11-mile route could rise when students return to school this fall.

“We’ll have a clearer sense of everyday use when the University of Minnesota and other schools along the light rail line resume classes in the fall," Lamb said in the release.

Including the 107,039 free rides taken during opening weekend, the Green Line has given over 246,066 rides since opening at 10 a.m. on June 14, Metro Transit said Wednesday.

To compare, when the Blue Line opened in 2004, it had 93,000 riders and averaged 18,600 weekday passengers in its first week, the Star Tribune notes. From when it opened to the end of 2013, there have been 90.5 million rides on the Blue Line, which was the state's first light rail line, Metro Transit says.

Transit officials did say that bus ridership on duplicative routes through the Central Corridor service area dropped an average of about 15,000 riders per weekday during the first week the Green Line was running.

And just as officials predicted, the busiest stations along the Green Line's 11-mile route that connects downtown Minneapolis with downtown St. Paul include Nicollet Mall, East Bank, Snelling Avenue and Central, Metro Transit says.

Officials say they hope to average more than 40,000 weekday riders on the Green Line by 2030.

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