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2012 was top-three year for transit service

Total Minnesota Valley Transit Authority ridership for 2012 was 2,546,411, steady with 2011 ridership and only 70,000 rides from the MVTA's 2008 high ridership mark.

Highlights of the 2012 ridership include:

• Reverse commute ridership (bringing workers from the core cities to employment areas in the suburbs) increased by 12 percent.

• Route 475 (Apple Valley/Cedar Grove to U of M) now operating for more than a year, had ridership for 2012 increase 47 percent from 2011 ridership, confirming that the University market is strong.

• Local Route 445 (Eagan to Mall of America) Sunday ridership was up more than 10 percent.

• The top three MVTA routes based on ridership are: Route 460 (Burnsville express to/from downtown Minneapolis); Route 477 (Apple Valley express to/from downtown Minneapolis) and Route 444 (Savage/Burnsville/Cedar Grove/Mall of America local service seven days per week)

"The economy continued to recover and gas prices were up and down throughout the year," said MVTA Chair Gary Hansen (who also serves as a city of Eagan councilmember). "This helped contribute to full buses and stable ridership. And, we look forward to more growth in 2013," he said.

The MVTA is well-positioned to continue ridership growth, according to Beverley Miller, MVTA executive director. Specifically, she said, "we have the September 2012 expansion of Route 465 service from Burnsville to downtown Minneapolis/University of Minnesota all day long, the opening of the Rosemount Transit Station in December 2012 with additional express service to Minneapolis and possibly St. Paul funded for 2014, and the anticipation of the METRO Red Line service on Cedar Avenue slated to begin in May/June 2013." She also noted that the MVTA will improve Route 464 express service between Savage and downtown Minneapolis in June and is reworking local service specifically in Apple Valley and Eagan in connection with the opening of the METRO Red Line.

MVTA is the public transportation provider for residents and businesses of Apple Valley, Burnsville, Eagan, Rosemount, and Savage.