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Home   |   Newsroom   |   News & Updates

News & Updates

January 31, 2014

More people enjoying cost-savings, stress-free commute by catching Northstar Link

ST. CLOUD (Jan. 31, 2014) — For the fourth consecutive year, people hopped on board the Northstar Link Commuter Bus in record numbers to travel the Highway 10 corridor between St. Cloud and Minneapolis. Link ridership grew 9.4 percent in 2013, with a total ridership of 55,213.

The Northstar Link Commuter Bus provides daily service to the Northstar Commuter Rail line’s Big Lake Station and serves most rail trips. Northstar trains primarily serve weekday commuters.

Northstar trains also serve some special events and all home Twins and Vikings games. Again in 2014, all Twins home games will have Northstar Link and train service.

The number of Northstar train commuters also grew in 2013. Ridership reached 787,239 in 2013, a 12 percent increase. Last year’s ridership was the highest in the line’s four-year history.

The top reasons people use Northstar Link are cost savings, stress-free travel and convenience, according to Stearns County Commissioner Leigh Lenzmeier, chair of the Northstar Corridor Development Authority. The authority is the group that oversees the Link.

“A majority of customers ride more than one day a week, too, which is helping slow the growth of congestion on highways 10 and 94,” Commissioner Lenzmeier said.

The Northstar Link is a multi-purpose mode of transportation, serving not just commuters but sports fans and students.

“It’s not uncommon to have Sunday evening buses full of students headed back to St. Cloud State University,” Commissioner Lenzmeier said.

Northstar Link provides one trip each week that is not tied to the train schedule. Northstar Link makes it possible to work a half day or make a short, leisurely trip on Fridays. The Fabulous Friday midday bus service starts in St. Cloud at 10:15 a.m. and ends in Minneapolis at 12:45 p.m., with stops in between at Becker and all Northstar train stations, except Fridley. The bus leaves downtown Minneapolis and heads north at 1 p.m., following the same route.

Information on schedules and fares, which range from $1.25 to $5.50 one way, can be found at www.CatchTheLink.com or by calling 877.LINK.010.

About the Northstar Corridor

The Northstar Commuter Rail Line operated by Metro Transit, provides service on the 40-mile segment of existing track along highways 10 and 47 from Big Lake to downtown Minneapolis.

Northstar trains offer commuter service during morning and evening weekday rush hours, as well as regular weekend service and some special event service.

The Northstar Corridor Development Authority (NCDA) is a joint powers board of governmental entities representing counties, cities, townships and regional railroad authorities along the Northstar Corridor, which covers an 80-mile stretch from downtown Minneapolis to St. Cloud.

For more information about Northstar train service, go to www.metrotransit.org/northstar. For more information about the Northstar Link Commuter Bus, which is operated by St. Cloud Metro Bus, go to www.CatchTheLink.com, or call 877.LINK.010.

November 19, 2013

Sign Up for Occasional Updates

(Nov. 19, 2013) Did you get today's e-news from the Northstar Corridor Development Authority?

It has information on Northstar beginning its fifth year of operation, plus important service notifications. For example, because of construction, Northstar Line riders will be transported between Target Field and Fridley Stations by bus this Saturday and Sunday.

Want to get signed up? Go to our home page, look toward the bottom of the left-hand column and you'll find the sign up box. Plug in your email and you're on your way to getting coridor updates about a half dozen times per year.

Find a link to today's edition on our Facebook page.

October 22, 2013

More people commute by catching the Link, benefits include cost savings, stress-free ride

ST. CLOUD Oct.22, 2013 — People are hopping on board the Northstar Link Commuter Bus in record numbers to travel in the highway 10 corridor between St. Cloud and Minneapolis. Link ridership in September reached a new high, with more than 5,400 rides, an 18 percent increase over September 2012.

The Northstar Link Commuter Bus, which has stops between St. Cloud and Big Lake, coordinates with most Northstar Commuter Rail train arrivals and departures at the Big Lake Station seven days each week. The train schedule primarily serves commuters during rush hours, and offers limited weekend service plus some special events, including Twins baseball and Vikings football games.

The number of commuters on the train also is growing. September 2013 ridership was up about seven percent over September 2012.

The top three reasons people use Northstar Link are cost savings, stress-free travel, and convenience, according to Stearns County Commissioner Leigh Lenzmeier, chair of the Northstar Corridor Development Authority, which is the group that oversees the Link.

“I give some of the credit for the increased ridership to the efforts of the St. Cloud State Mass Communications students last year,” Commissioner Lenzmeier said. “As a class project, they helped build awareness on campus for the Link and train services. Now it’s common to have Sunday evening buses full of students headed back to SCSU.”

Commissioner Lenzmeier went on to say that the majority of riders use Link services more than one day a week, which he believes is helping to manage congestion on highways 10 and 94.

There is one weekday bus trip that isn’t tied to the train schedule. Northstar Link makes it possible to work a half day or make a short, leisurely trip on Fridays. The Fabulous Friday midday bus service starts in St. Cloud at 10:15 a.m. and ends in Minneapolis at 12:45 p.m., with stops in between at Becker and all Northstar train stations, except Fridley. The bus leaves downtown Minneapolis and heads north at 1 p.m. with stops at all Northstar stations, except Fridley.

Information on schedules and fares, which range from $1.25 to $5.50 one way, can be found at www.CatchTheLink.com or by calling 877.LINK.010.

August 09, 2013

Take Northstar to the State Fair, Great Deal on Weekends

ST. CLOUD Aug. 9, 2013 — Northstar Link and Metro Transit are teaming up to make getting to the Minnesota State Fair easy and affordable on weekends.
 
Travel from St. Cloud and Becker all the way to the gates of the State Fair on one pass!
Up to five people (two adults and three children age 6-17) can ride Northstar Link, Northstar Rail and the State Fair Express Bus (board at the Northstar station in Fridley) for only $20 roundtrip on State Fair weekends Aug. 24 and 25, and Aug. 31 and Sept. 1.

Family Passes range in price from $20 down to $11, depending on your boarding station.

Purchase Family Passes in advance online at www.metrotransit.org/northstar-family-pass-state-fair. Print the Family Pass in order to present it to Link drivers and Metro Transit staff. (Be sure to retain the pass for the return trip). Buses leave Fridley Station roughly every half hour.
 
This “one fare to the fair” offer is valid only on weekends during the 2013 State Fair.
 
Customers are advised to plan ahead for the return trip from the fairgrounds by knowing schedules and trip times and returning to Fridley Station from the State Fair well in advance of scheduled train departures. Northstar trains are not able to wait for buses arriving from the State Fair.
 
During the week, riders may use Northstar Link and Northstar Rail to get to the State Fair Express Bus in Fridley. Regular fares apply. Complete schedule details are available at www.CatchTheLink.com for the bus and www.metrotransit.org/northstar for the train.

Stearns County Commissioner Leigh Lenzmeier, chair of the Northstar Corridor Development Authority, predicts the Family Pass and Fridley shuttle will be popular.

“The great Minnesota get-together should be fun, relaxing,” Lenzmeier said. “Transit can help take away the stress and expense of driving and parking.”

Northstar Link is providing some additional service on weekends for travel to the State Fair. Northstar trains will follow their regular schedule.

August 01, 2013

Northstar Corridor Market Analyses and Executive Summaries

Transit-Oriented Development in the Northstar Corridor

The Northstar Corridor Development Authority was the sub-recipient of a grant received by the Metropolitan Council’s Corridors of Opportunity program from HUD’s Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant to conduct a Transit-Oriented Development study of the Northstar Corridor in 2011. Additional funding was provided by Anoka County and Sherburne County.

This study resulted in the generation of market and economic viability analysis’ for each station city that provides an informed understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities each area has as well as providing a greater understanding of how their area fits within the Northstar Corridor.

The following videos are from a Northstar Market Analysis Meeting on June 6, 2013, that provided an overview of the process and results of the study and allowed each station city to briefly describe activities and plans for their area.

City-specific videos: Anoka, Big Lake, Coon Rapids, Elk River, Fridley, Ramsey.

You can get even more great information from the Corridors of Opportunity project, by the Metropolitan Council.

Market Analysis for Areas Along the Northstar Corridor

Download reports on the developent potential and financial viability of residential, retail, and office development near Northstar Stations, as well as recommendations on implementing those findings.

Anoka

Executive Summary (.pdf)

Market Analysis (.pdf)

Big Lake

Executive Summary (.pdf)

Market Analysis (.pdf)

Coon Rapids

Executive Summary (.pdf)

Market Analysis (.pdf)

Elk River

Executive Summary (.pdf)

Market Analysis (.pdf)

Fridley

Executive Summary (.pdf)

Market Analysis (.pdf)

Ramsey

Executive Summary (.pdf)

Market Analysis (.pdf)

March 26, 2013

Northstar Link, Northstar Commuter Rail to provide service for every Minnesota Twins home game

ST. CLOUD — Let Northstar Link and Northstar Commuter Rail take you out to the ball game.

Every Twins home game this season will have bus and rail service. Baseball fans will be able to take the Northstar Link bus from St. Cloud or Becker to Big Lake to connect with the Northstar train, which takes them directly to Target Field in Minneapolis. At the scheduled departure time, or 30 minutes after the last out for specially scheduled trains, fans will be able to board the train to Big Lake and easily transfer to the Northstar Link bus to finish the trip back to Becker or St. Cloud.

Separate tickets are needed to ride the Link and the train. Link rides cost $1.75 or less each way. Train fares vary by station. Before games, round-trip train tickets and Northstar Roundtrip Family Passes can be purchased online at www.metrotransit.org/Northstar. Just print your ticket and keep it with you.

“Taking the Link and train are part of the fun of going to a baseball game,” said Stearns County Commissioner Leigh Lenzmeier, chair of the Northstar Corridor Development Authority. “Online train tickets make it even easier to enjoy the stress-free ride.”

The Minnesota Twins Northstar Link service is called route 887T. The 887T schedule is available on Link buses and Northstar trains, online at www.CatchTheLink.com, or by calling 877.LINK.010.  For information on train schedules and fare options, go to www.metrotransit.org/twins.

About the Northstar Corridor

The Northstar Commuter Rail Line, operated by Metro Transit, provides service on the 40-mile segment of existing track along Highways 10 and 47 from Big Lake to downtown Minneapolis.

Northstar trains offer commuter service during prime morning and evening week day rush hours, as well as regular weekend service and some special event service.

The Northstar Corridor Development Authority is a joint powers board of governmental entities representing counties, cities, townships and regional railroad authorities along the Northstar Corridor, which covers an 80-mile stretch from downtown Minneapolis to St. Cloud.

For more information about Northstar train service, go to www.metrotransit.org/northstar. For more information about the Northstar Link Commuter Bus, which is operated by St. Cloud Metro Bus, go to www.CatchTheLink.com, or call 877.LINK.010.

January 18, 2013

More people commute by catching the Link

Jan. 18, 2013 — People are hopping on board the Northstar Link Commuter Bus in record numbers to travel in the highway 10 corridor between St. Cloud and Minneapolis. Link ridership in 2012 grew 8.7 percent over 2011 for a total of 50,468 boardings. Since the service began in November 2009, the numbers of Link customers have grown every year.

The Northstar Link Commuter Bus meets most Northstar Commuter Rail trains in Big Lake, seven days each week. The train schedule primarily serves commuters during rush hours, plus special events like Twins baseball and Vikings football games.

The number of commuters on the train also is growing. Ridership among regular weekday commuters was up four percent in 2012. Slower traffic on weekends caused the total train boardings for the year to be down 0.45 percent to 700,276.

The top three reasons people use Northstar Link are cost savings, stress-free travel and convenience, according to Stearns County Commissioner Leigh Lenzmeier, chair of the Northstar Corridor Development Authority, which is the group that oversees the Link. “A majority of customers ride more than one day a week, too, which is helping slow the growth of congestion on highways 10 and 94,” Commissioner Lenzmeier said.

Commuters, Students, Sports Fans Share Ride

The Northstar Link is a multi-purpose mode of transportation.

Again in 2013, all Twins home games will have Northstar Link and train service.

“It’s not uncommon to have Sunday evening buses full of students headed back to SCSU,” Commissioner Lenzmeier said. “Just $1.75 buys a comfortable, safe ride to campus from Big Lake; $1.25 from Becker.”

There’s one trip each week that isn’t tied to the train schedule. Northstar Link makes it possible to work a half day or make a short, leisurely trip on Fridays. The Fabulous Friday midday bus service starts in St. Cloud at 10:15 a.m. and ends in Minneapolis at 12:45 p.m., with stops in between at Becker and all Northstar train stations, except Fridley. The bus leaves downtown Minneapolis and heads north at 1 p.m. with stops at any Northstar station by request, except Fridley.

Information on schedules and fares, which range from $1.25 to $5.50 one way, can be found at www.CatchTheLink.com or by calling 877.LINK.010.

About the Northstar Corridor

The Northstar Commuter Rail Line, operated by Metro Transit, provides service on the 40-mile segment of existing track along Highways 10 and 47 from Big Lake to downtown Minneapolis.

Northstar trains offer commuter service during prime morning and evening week day rush hours, as well as regular weekend service and some special event service.

The Northstar Corridor Development Authority (NCDA) is a joint powers board of governmental entities representing counties, cities, townships and regional railroad authorities along the Northstar Corridor, which covers an 80-mile stretch from downtown Minneapolis to St. Cloud.

For more information about Northstar train service, go to www.metrotransit.org/northstar. For more information about the Northstar Link Commuter Bus, which is operated by St. Cloud Metro Bus, go to www.CatchTheLink.com, or call 877.LINK.010.

- 30 -

December 17, 2012

NCDA Meeting Dec. 17 in Elk River

The full board of the Northstar Corridor Development Authority will meet Monday, Dec. 17,4:15 p.m., in the County Board Room at the Sherburne County Government Center, 13880 Business Center Dr., NW, Elk River, MN 55330.

December 11, 2012

Toys for Tots Donations = Free Northstar Rides on Dec. 14, 15

ST CLOUD – (Dec. 11) – Northstar Link, Metro Transit and BNSF Railway have teamed up to offer free rides on select bus and train trips this Friday and Saturday in exchange for donations to Toys for Tots.

For the commute on Friday morning, Dec. 14, and for the Holidazzle trip Saturday afternoon, Dec. 15, people boarding Northstar Link buses with new, unwrapped toys to donate will ride for free and receive a ticket for a free return trip.

U.S. Marines and BNSF employees who operate Northstar will be on hand at Target Field Station Friday to accept donations from Northstar commuters. In exchange for donations of new, unwrapped toys, riders will be given a pair of free Northstar train tickets to use at a later date. (Limit one pair of tickets per customer).   

On Saturday, Dec. 15, those traveling on the special Northstar Holidazzle bus or train may ride free to and from any station with their Toys for Tots donations. To qualify for the free Holidazzle ride, one donation is needed for each Northstar customer. For example, a party of two adults and two children would ride free with a donation of four new unwrapped toys.

The Northstar Holidazzle Link Commuter Bus begins Saturday in downtown St. Cloud at 1:45 p.m. with three stops, arriving at Northstar Big Lake Station at 2:45 p.m. The train departs for downtown Minneapolis at 3:06 p.m. A Link schedule is available at www.CatchTheLink.com or by calling 877.LINK.010 (877-546-5010). It’s a free transfer to Hiawatha LRT to complete the trip to the parade route.

The return train trip will depart Target Field Station promptly at 8 p.m. The train schedule is available at www.metrotransit.org/northstar or by calling 612-373-3333.

“Take the stress out of your holidays by leaving the driving to Northstar Link and the train,” said Stearns County Commissioner Leigh Lenzmeier, chair of the Northstar Corridor Development Authority. “And, thanks for brightening the holidays for a child by donating a toy.” 

The BNSF Railway Foundation is joining in the effort, providing a $2,000 contribution to Toys for Tots.

For more information about Toys for Tots, visit toysfortots.org.

Northstar is operated by Metro Transit, a service of the Metropolitan Council. Customers boarded Metro Transit buses and trains 81 million times last year.

BNSF Railway is one of North America's leading freight transportation companies operating on 32,000 route miles of track in 28 states and two Canadian provinces. Learn more at BNSF.com.

Northstar Link is funded by the Northstar Corridor Development Authority, Sherburne and Stearns Counties. It is operated by Metro Bus in St. Cloud.

November 21, 2012

Saturday Northstar Trips Added for Target Holidazzle

Special trips on the Northstar commuter rail line will operate each Saturday of this year's Target Holidazzle Parade. The 2012 parade, which begins Friday, Nov. 23, also features the second-generation Twinkle Bus--Metro Transit's popular parade float.

Special Northstar Holidazzle service operates on these Saturdays: Nov. 24, and Dec. 1, 8, 15, and 22. Trains arrive at Target Field Station at 3:55 p.m. and depart at 8 p.m. Schedule and fare information is at www.metrotransit.org/northstar-service-to-holidazzle.aspx.



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