Metro Transit Facts

Metro Transit — the region’s transit workhorse

Metro area residents have many transit options — buses, trains, car and van pools, park-and-ride lots, transit hubs, and high-occupancy-vehicle lanes. The heart of transit in the seven-county region is Metro Transit, carrier of about 85% of the region’s total public transit passengers.

Transit plays an important role in the regional economy and community prosperity. Transit gets workers to their jobs and youth to school, eases traffic congestion, improves air quality, cuts commuting costs, and reduces greenhouse gases. Dedicated transitways spur economic development.

Metro Transit at a glance

  • Metro Transit is a service of the Metropolitan Council.
  • Service area includes Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and dozens of suburban communities.
  • In 2018, Metro Transit provided 80.6 million rides on 130 bus routes — including A Line rapid bus service — and the METRO Blue and Green Lines (light rail transit, or LRT), and Northstar, a commuter rail line.
  • Ridership on the METRO Green Line increased again, finishing 2018 with a record nearly 13.8 million rides.
  • METRO Blue Line provided 11.1 million rides in 2018, its highest annual total since opening in 2004.
  • In its second full year of service, customers took more than 1.6 million riders on A Line rapid bus service. Ridership in the Snelling Avenue/46th Street corridor is about one-third higher than 2015, when it was served only by Route 84. 
  • More than 9 out of 10 Metro Transit customers surveyed said they are satisfied with the service.

Transit fleet, staff and facilities

Metro Transit operates a fleet of 909 buses, 91 light rail cars, 18 commuter rail passenger cars and 6 commuter rail locomotives. The bus fleet includes 40-foot buses (both standard diesel and hybrid-electric models), articulated “accordion-style” buses, coach buses, and A Line buses. The entire fleet is equipped with wheelchair lifts or ramps and bicycle racks.

Metro Transit continues to add hybrid-electric buses to the fleet as standard diesel buses reach the end of their useful lives. Hybrid buses get about one-third better fuel mileage on local routes, are quieter and produce 90% fewer emissions than the buses they replace.

Metro Transit employs about 3,200 people as bus and rail operators, mechanics, administrative and support staff, and police officers. Facilities include five service garages, three rail operations centers, one fleet service center, an administrative building, a regional transit information center, an operations support center, three retail stores, and Metro Transit Police headquarters.

Metro Transit and its suburban transit agency partners also maintain an array of transit centers, passenger facilities, and park-and-ride lots and ramps. These lots and ramps contain nearly 34,200 spaces, along both bus and rail routes, and about 18,700 vehicles are parked in them on an average weekday. Many facilities are full each day.

Bus and rail fares

Bus and light rail fares during the rush hours (Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.) are $2.50 on local routes and $3.25 on express routes. Non-rush-hour fares are $2.00 and $2.50, respectively. Seniors and youth pay a discounted fare of $1 for rides during non-rush hours; people with disabilities pay $1 regardless of the time of day. Transfers are good for unlimited rides for two and one-half hours.

Riders on a METRO Green Line train.Weekday fares on Northstar Commuter Rail are based on distance traveled, and range from $3.25 to $6.25. Weekend fares range from $2.75 to $5.50. Transfers to bus or light rail are free.

The Transit Assistance Program offers discounted fares to residents with low incomes. Riders must be certified for participation. In 2018, TAP riders boarded buses and trains more than 1.3 million times.

Metro Transit offers a number of discount fare programs to employers and educational institutions, including Metropass, U-Pass, Go-To College Pass, and Student Pass, a fare card for high school students.

More than 370 employers make the unlimited-ride Metropass available to their employees, with 37,650 commuters taking advantage of the program. Metro Transit has other employer programs available. An additional 30,000 university, college, and high school students use unlimited-ride passes to get to school, taking nearly 8.8 million rides in 2018.

Website offers travel planning tools

Metro Transit offers a variety of online tools at its website to make trip planning easy. Users can input their origin and destination points and desired departure or arrival time, and Trip Planner generates several travel options, including maps. GPS-based NexTrip gives users predicted real-time departures of buses and trains. Users may also purchase transit passes online.

Learn more: Metro Transit 2018 Facts