Metro Transit sees rise in ridership in 2023 so far

Metro Transit ridership increase

Metro Transit ridership increase

New Metro Transit data shows more Minnesotans are using Metro Transit to get around.

Metro Transit said it’s seeing about a 20% jump in ridership in the first five months of the year compared to last year, with a huge jump in people taking the bus rapid transit line.

If it’s hopping on a bus or riding the light rail, more Minnesotans are using public transportation to get around.

Jerrell Stafford takes the light rail all over the metro.

“It’s pretty much my only mode of transportation at the moment,” he said. “It pretty much makes everything easier.”

Metro Transit officials explained they’re seeing increases in ridership month to month.

“It’s not only for commute reasons anymore. Weekend ridership was up about 23%,” Drew Kerr, Metro Transit spokesperson, said. “That’s really, really encouraging. We hope it’s something that we continue to see as the year goes off.”

The data shows numbers are currently sitting at 55% pre-pandemic ridership.

Metro Transit officials said crime has been a roadblock to boosting those statistics.

Police data shows in the first three months of this year, crime jumped by 66% compared to last year.

Under Metro Transit’s safety and security action plan, officials said they’re ramping up visibility to help riders feel safe.

“Just having a greater official presence on transit, whether it’s police officers, security officers or staff like myself,” Kerr said.

Some passengers said getting more people back on public transportation starts with getting a better handle on crime.

“With like the drugs and everything being on the trains. It’s actually making a lot of people stay away from the trains. So it’s got to be worked out before we actually see an improvement,” Stafford said.

Metro Transit is planning to add another new round of service in August as they bring on more bus operators.