Results from a recent online survey administered to Northstar Commuter Rail customers and the general public found that 79 percent of respondents support government funding to extend rail service to St. Cloud.
"We are as committed as ever to continuing the Northstar line to St. Cloud, and recent surveys show the public is still right there with us,” said Sherburne County Commissioner Felix Schmiesing, chair of the Northstar Corridor Development Authority’s (NCDA) extension efforts. “People want improved transit options to the St. Cloud area and the extension of Northstar Commuter Rail service is the smartest way to make that happen.”
The online survey results, as well as a survey provided to riders of the Northstar Link commuter bus between Big Lake and St. Cloud, indicate that people consider Northstar a safe and convenient transportation option. Specifically:
- Respondents most strongly agreed with the statements “I feel safe while riding Northstar trains” and “Northstar station and train amenities meet my needs.”
- Most respondents also agreed that Northstar is more convenient than driving and an affordable transportation option.
- Northstar Link commuter bus riders named affordable cost and low stress as their key motivations to ride.
“Our surveys reinforce that Northstar is meeting the needs of people who live and work in the north metro,” said Dan Erhart, Anoka County Commissioner and NCDA chair. “In its first six months, Northstar has experienced much success from adding service to Minnesota Twins games and other efforts to respond to public input about how we can make customers’ trips more enjoyable. Northstar truly is connecting people to their destinations in a fast, convenient and safe manner.”
Currently, Metro Transit operates Northstar trains between downtown Minneapolis and Big Lake. Northstar Link, operated by St. Cloud Metro Bus, provides commuter coach service between the Northstar Commuter Rail station in Big Lake and St. Cloud. Completing train service to St. Cloud, as was originally planned, is currently the NCDA’s top priority.
The online, unscientific survey was conducted this spring by the NCDA and was completed by more than 1,700 Northstar riders and residents who live in the Northstar Corridor and surrounding areas. A second survey of Northstar Link riders was conducted by St. Cloud Metro Bus.