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Home   |   Newsroom   |   News & Updates

Current Affairs

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.

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 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.

March 30, 2012

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

ST. CLOUD, March 30, 2012 — 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 catch 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 special service 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.

In anticipation for a busy home opener on Monday, April 9, two buses are scheduled. Separate tickets are needed to ride the Link and the train. The Link ride costs $1.75 or less each way. The train ride prices vary by station. New this year, is the ability to buy round-trip tickets and Northstar Roundtrip Family Passes for home Twins games online at www.metrotransit.org/Northstar

“The trip is even easier now with online train tickets for Twins games,” said Stearns County Commissioner Leigh Lenzmeier, chair of the Northstar Corridor Development Authority. “Print your round trip or family pass at home and be sure to keep it with you. You’ll be asked to show your ticket at Target Field.”

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/take-northstar-to-target-field.aspx.

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.

March 28, 2012

Groundbreaking on Ramsey Northstar Station Starts Construction

Haigh Ruby Erhart Turok Arens Biggs Strommen Backus Ramsey Look Wise Elvig McGlone 3-27-12

Construction started on Ramsey Northstar Station with a ceremonial groundbreaking event March 27 at the site near Ramsey City Hall, 7550 Sunwood Dr., NW, Ramsey.

Dignitaries who had waited ten years for this moment eagerly threw dirt with gold shovels. The PACT Charter High School Choir sang the national anthem and an African song, Mohlang, about a traveling train.

The construction schedule calls for completion and service startup around Nov. 16, 2012, the third anniversary of opening day for Minnesota’s first commuter rail line.

Timing on construction is creating significant cost savings, according to Anoka County Commissioner Matt Look, chair of the Anoka County Regional Rail Authority.

“Taxpayers are realizing significant savings because we’re able to move ahead in the current marketplace,” Commissioner Look said. “The winning construction bid came in nearly $600,000 under the estimated price.”

Sheehy Construction provided the most competitive offer out of eight companies. They submitted a bid of $6,583,300 to construct the station platform, the pedestrian bridge over the BNSF Railway tracks and the skyway connection to the municipal parking ramp.

Construction is being paid for with a combination of funds from the City of Ramsey, Anoka County, the Counties Transit Improvement Board, the State of Minnesota, and the Met Council. 

Follow construction progress on Twitter @NorthstarRamsey.


Full Speed Ahead in The COR

The construction of the Ramsey Station brings new development opportunities to the City of Ramsey, according to Mayor Bob Ramsey. For example, the Residence at the COR, a 230 unit market rate apartment project, is getting under construction in April. 

“The Residence at the COR will provide new housing opportunities in the city and build ridership for Northstar,” Mayor Ramsey said.  “We are optimistic about the impact the Ramsey Station will have on our community by providing new transit services to our residents and opening the door for additional development.”

The new Ramsey Station is expected to average 200 rides per weekday, adding 51,000 weekday rides per year to the commuter rail system. Most of those rides will be people commuting to work on the train instead of in their cars on the congested highways in the Northstar Corridor, which runs between Minneapolis and St. Cloud.

The Ramsey Station will join six others on the line, Big Lake, Elk River, Anoka, Coon Rapids, Fridley, and Target Field in Minneapolis. Service is confined primarily to rush hours Monday-Friday, with limited trips on weekends and for special events, like all Twins home games. For more information on current train service, go to www.metrotransit.org/northstar or call 612-373-3333.

Until the train stops in Ramsey, bus service is available at the station during rush hours, Monday through Friday with the Ramsey Star Express, and midday on Fridays with the Northstar Link Commuter Bus. Information on buses, and Northstar Ramsey Station fares and schedules when available, can be found on Facebook/Northstar Corridor, and on the city Web site, www.cityoframsey.com

March 26, 2012

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

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.

March 20, 2012

Groundbreaking on Ramsey Northstar Station set for March 27

Construction will start on Ramsey Northstar Station with a ceremonial groundbreaking event Tuesday, March 27, 2012, 3 to 4 p.m., at the site near Ramsey City Hall, 7550 Sunwood Dr., NW, Ramsey. Anoka County Regional Rail Authority Chair Matt Look and City of Ramsey Mayor Bob Ramsey will be joined by other local public officials and business people to throw the first shovels of dirt. The PACT Charter High School Choir will sing the national anthem and an African song, Mohlang, about a traveling train.  A small reception will be held inside city hall.

The construction schedule calls for completion and service startup around Nov. 16, 2012, the third anniversary of opening day for Minnesota’s first commuter rail line.

Timing on construction is creating significant cost savings, according to Anoka County Commissioner Matt Look, chair of the Anoka County Regional Rail Authority.

“Taxpayers are realizing significant savings because we’re able to move ahead in the current marketplace,” Commissioner Look said. “The winning construction bid came in nearly $600,000 under the estimated price.”

Sheehy Construction provided the most competitive offer out of eight companies. They submitted a bid of $6,583,300 to construct the station platform, the pedestrian bridge over the BNSF Railway tracks and the skyway connection to the municipal parking ramp.

Construction is being paid for with a combination of funds from the City of Ramsey, Anoka County, the Counties Transit Improvement Board, and the State of Minnesota through the Met Council.

Full Speed Ahead in The COR

The construction of the Ramsey Station brings new development opportunities to the City of Ramsey, according to Mayor Bob Ramsey. For example, the Residence at the COR, a 230 unit market rate apartment project, is getting under construction in April. 

“The Residence at the COR will provide new housing opportunities in the city and build ridership for Northstar,” Mayor Ramsey said.  “We are optimistic about the impact the Ramsey Station will have on our community by providing new transit services to our residents and opening the door for additional development.”

Until the train stops in Ramsey, bus service is available at the station during rush hours and midday on Fridays. Information on buses, and Northstar Ramsey Station fares and schedules when available, can be found on Facebook/Northstar Corridor, and on the city Web site, www.ci.ramsey.mn.us.

 

December 07, 2011

Northstar Link fares set for 2012

ST. CLOUD — The Northstar Corridor Development Authority approved a 2012 budget Dec. 1 which includes a fare increase for Northstar Link Commuter Bus, effective Jan. 3.  This is the first increase since the service started in November 2009. The increase will help offset operational costs.

The Northstar Link travels between St. Cloud and Big Lake Northstar Station, with a stop in Becker. The schedule meets most Northstar trains in Big Lake. On Fridays, a midday bus runs the full length of the corridor, from St. Cloud to downtown Minneapolis. Special buses serve sporting and other events. Rides are free on special buses and trains serving the Target Holidazzle parades on Dec. 10 and 17.

Ridership on the Link continues to grow. People boarded the bus 70,741 times, January through October of this year. That’s a 113% increase over the same period in 2010.

Stearns County Commissioner Leigh Lenzmeier, chair of the Northstar Corridor Development Authority, is pleased with the service’s growing popularity.

“Riders are discovering that the Link and the train provide stress-free and on-time travel,” said Commissioner Lenzmeier.

New in 2012, will be a Fabulous Friday midday bus stop in Ramsey. Details are being worked out for an early January start. Watch www.CatchTheLink.com for more information or call 1-877-546-5010. During 2012, a Northstar train station will be constructed in Ramsey with the goal of service starting by the end of the year.

Northstar Link Fares

Effective Jan. 3, 2012 

Fare

Current

New

887 Cash

$1.50/$3.00

$1.75/$3.25

887T/887V Cash

$1.50

$1.75

887F Cash

$3.00/$5.00

$3.25/$5.50

Becker Cash

$1.00

$1.25

10-Ride Pass

$15.00/$25.00

$16.00/$27.00

31-Day Pass

$90.00

$95.00

About the Northstar Corridor

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.

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.

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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