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Saturday, August 07, 2004

Light Rail a success so far

This article details the first month of service on the Hiawatha Light Rail line. Ridership was double what was expected, about 462,400 passengers. The story goes on to say that there were no light rail collisions with cars, pedestrians, or bikes, 99 percent of people pay (fares are on the honor system), and the system is 99 percent on time. On surprise, which I can vouch for, is how many people use the system on weekends. Weekends ridership is shattering expectations, and almost every time I have seen a light rail car on the weekends, it has been full. I have used the system myself to go to Twins games and the Mall of America, and many other people are doing the same thing.

The success so far of the light rail line will hopefully encourage expansion. We have the beginning of what could be a great system. Minneapolis and Saint Paul are great in many respects, with one of the few problems being its transit system. I suppose I have been spoiled by public transit during trips to New York, Chicago, Boston, and Washington D.C., but it is very nice to be able to hop on a train or subway to get around and not have to worry about driving and parking. If we have the right leadership, this is a vision we can bring to this area too.

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