When it comes to operating subsidies, light rail lines in the Twin Cities region have the lowest cost per passenger of all transit modes, according to newly released numbers from the Metropolitan Council.
The report, however, doesn’t account for the costs of building light rail.
In a list of 13 peer regions with similar transit options and populations, the Twin Cities area ranks roughly in the middle of the pack for average subsidy per passenger across all mode types, according to 2014 data, the most recent year available. The average subsidy was $3.61 per ride.
The most recent regional data separating suburban and urban bus lines is from 2013. Three years ago, suburban buses needed an average subsidy of $4.81 per ride and urban buses needed $2.72.
But light rail subsidies per passenger fall well below the regional and national peer average.
At the end of 2014, when the Green Line LRT between the downtowns of Minneapolis and St. Paul had been operating for six months, the light rail subsidy per passenger was $2.05 per rider, compared with $2.49 in peer cities.