Transit in Minnesota

Minnesotans want to travel safer and faster and have alternatives to driving alone. Transit is a key component of our transportation system, transporting people to work, to medical appointments, to shopping, to family and friends and to other important destinations. Whether people are looking for an alternative to wasting time and fuel stuck in congestion or are not able to drive, Minnesota's many transit systems are there to serve people throughout the state.

In Minnesota, transit service is available in most communities. In Greater Minnesota, service is available in smaller communities through Dial-A-Ride service, in larger communities through fixed-route bus service and in major urban areas through fixed-route, express bus service and light rail transit.

Twin Cities Metropolitan Area Transit

Transit service in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area falls under the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Council. The Council serves as the designated Metropolitan Planning Organization or MPO for the region and so engages in federal and state mandated planning for transit service.

Under the auspices of the Metropolitan Council, Metro Transit is the operator of transit service throughout much of the 7 county metropolitan area. The Council is also responsible for providing ADA service through Metro Mobility -- a service for people with disabilities who are not able to use regular route bus service.

Metro Transit

  • 3.8 million 2006 rides, up 6% from 2005. 2007 goal = 75 million rides
  • 93% of region's transit ridership
  • 827 buses/27 rail cars/113 routes
  • 2,580 employees
  • 15th largest transit system in America based on ridership

In addition to Metro Transit service, suburban transit systems offer service in select communities in the seven-county Twin Cities Metropolitan Area. Maple Grove Transit, Plymouth Metrolink, SouthWest Transit, and Minnesota Valley Transit are the major suburban systems. There are also a number of community programs that provide dial-a-ride service through partnerships with local governments. These include Anoka County Transit, Senior Community Services, HSI, Carver County Rural Transit, Scott County Transit and DARTS.

Transit Facts

  • Transit is a critical component of the transportation system. The state can't rely on a "roads only" approach to meeting transportation needs. Transit serves all Minnesotans from those who can't drive to those looking for alternatives to daily congestion to people who don't use transit but benefit from fewer cars on the road.
  • If all current bus riders immediately began using single-occupant vehicles, an additional two lanes would be needed on the busiest corridors to accommodate the new traffic at current congestion levels. Of transit riders, 81% report using transit to get to work and 75% ride during rush hour.
  • Congestion is often cited as our region's number one livability issue, and it costs the region over $1 billion/yr. in wasted time and fuel.
  • Public transit is a valuable Minnesota industry. The transit industry directly employs more than 3,700 Minnesotans and generates more than $750 million per year in wages, goods and services.
  • Reducing car ownership leads to huge financial gains; one less car (which conservatively costs $5,000/yr to own and operate) is equivalent to a $100,000 home mortgage.
  • The availability of bus service increases the self-sufficiency of elderly and disabled persons who are unable to drive, allowing them to live independently rather than in costly nursing homes. Nursing home care in Minnesota costs an average of $30,000 to $40,000 per year.