ST. CLOUD, March 22, 2012 — 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. January and February ridership numbers were up an average of 30 percent over 2011. Since the service began in November 2009, the numbers have shown a rapid rise. Total rides for 2011 were 77 percent higher than 2010 (from 26,263 to 46,437 rides).
Results from a recent Link customer survey show a variety of reasons for the bus’ growing success, according to Stearns County Commissioner Leigh Lenzmeier, chair of the Northstar Corridor Development Authority, the sponsor of the service.
“The top three reasons people use Northstar Link are cost savings, stress-free travel and convenience,” Commissioner Lenzmeier said. “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.”
The Northstar Link Commuter Bus meets most Northstar trains in Big Lake, seven days each week. The train schedule primarily serves commuters during rush hours, plus special events like Twins baseball games. The number of daily commuters on the train also is growing. Ridership among daily commuters was up seven percent in 2011.
Commuters, Students, Sports Fans Share Ride
The Northstar Link is a multi-purpose mode of transportation.
Again in 2012, all Twins home games will have Northstar Link and train service.
“It’s not uncommon to have Sunday 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 heads north at 1 p.m. and on the way to St. Cloud stops at any requested station, except Fridley. New in 2012 is a Fabulous Friday midday bus stop at Ramsey Station, currently under construction.
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.