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Metro Transit ridership rebounds as gas prices soar

MINNEAPOLIS — Gas, groceries, and just about everything is getting more expensive. As we look for ways to save money, more are opting to hop on public transit.

Brian Koeltzow rides the train to commute from his Otsego home and avoid putting the miles on his car. He’s noticed it’s gotten more crowded.

“As the gas prices went up, people started riding,” Koeltzow said.

At the bus station, too, riders said that more seats have been taken recently.

The numbers back it up. Last month, Metro Transit averaged 120,000 riders a day during the week. That’s fewer than half of 2019’s highs, but nearly the most since the start of the pandemic.



“More people are coming back to the office,” said Drew Kerr with Metro Transit. “More people are going into school. The Twins have been playing, and Pride’s been happening, all these things that bring people back out into the community.”

Public transit can be a cheaper alternative also. Gas in the Twin Cities is averaging $4.70 per gallon.

“That’s historically always been something people put at the top of their lists as far as why they ride transit, it’s the cost of driving,” Kerr said.

But with riders coming back, some have noticed their buses are missing. It’s the express bus routes that have not yet gotten back to full service. Kerr says they’re 200 drivers short of being fully staffed, and they’re hiring.

Safety has also been a concern on public transit. Metro Transit says its new plan includes hiring more police officers as well as improving security and lighting at busy stations.

Source: CBS Minnesota

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