"These numbers are phenomenal," explained Joe Calabrese, CEO and general manager, to the GCRTA Board of Trustees. "RTA is glad to serve more customers this year in every area of service. RTA appreciates that people trust us to get them where they need to go."
Metro Transit in Minneapolis, Minn., also saw ridership increases. Metro Transit finished 2011 with 80.9 million rides, an increase of 3.5 percent, or 2.7 million rides, over 2010.
It's only the second time in 30 years that ridership has exceeded 80 million. This marks the fifth consecutive year ridership topped 76 million, a number not previously achieved since 1982.
For the year, ridership on the Hiawatha light-rail line exceeded 10.4 million for only the second time. just 0.5 percent or 55,000 rides shy of record 2010 ridership.
Northstar finished the year with more than 703,000 rides, just one percent lower than in 2010. That was despite a freight derailment that took trains out of service for several days.