This year’s Minnesota State Fair smashed records in bus ridership.

In order to help ease the on-site parking at “The Great Minnesota Get-Together”, several bus lines provided complimentary service to the fair from park-and-ride locations throughout the metro.

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That’s how my friend and I got to the fair. I went online, checked what lots were full, and parked in a lot in Roseville. From there, a bus gave us a lift the rest of the way to the front gates.

I wasn’t alone. The Star-Tribune reports ridership smashed records at this year’s fair. The Minnesota Valley Transit Authority reports 112,996 rides from their locations in Eagan, Burnsville, and Shakopee. That’s 19% higher than last year and smashes the previous record ridership of more than 97,000 set in 2019.

SouthWest Transit moved 77,326 riders to the fair from park-and-rides in Chaska, Chanhassen, and Eden Prairie. That marks a 13% increase in ridership.

Metro Transit also reported a 33% increase in riders to the fair with more than 241,000 people choosing Metro Transit for their ride.

I loved the idea. The lots were staffed, so someone was onsite if I had any problems. I admit it took a few tries to get to the right bus for my ride away from the fair, but I eventually found it. To be fair, it was right after “The Chicks” concert let out, so I wasn’t the only person looking for a ride. It saved me time, and more importantly, frustration. In total, I spent 15 minutes or so waiting for a bus there and back.

I would love the idea even more if there was a park-and-ride option from St. Cloud. I’d even pay a reasonable fare if it meant a convenient (maybe once an hour) schedule and being dropped off feet from the front gates of the fair. After all, I enjoy going to events in the cities, I just don’t enjoy getting there or getting back.

And acceptance of bus transportation is growing. The Minnesota Valley Transit Authority says they moved more than 3,000 people to the Renaissance Festival from the park-and-ride in Shakopee just over Labor Day Weekend.

It’s at least worth a test project!

What do you think? Leave a comment and we'll talk about it this afternoon on RUSH HOUR.

 

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