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News & Updates for January 2013

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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.

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