ST. CLOUD — For the fourth consecutive year, people hopped on board the Northstar Link Commuter Bus in record numbers to travel the Highway 10 corridor between St. Cloud and Minneapolis. Link ridership grew 9.4 percent in 2013, with a total ridership of 55,213.
The Northstar Link Commuter Bus provides daily service to the Northstar Commuter Rail line’s Big Lake Station and serves most rail trips. Northstar trains primarily serve weekday commuters.
Northstar trains also serve some special events and all home Twins and Vikings games. Again in 2014, all Twins home games will have Northstar Link and train service.
The number of Northstar train commuters also grew in 2013. Ridership reached 787,239 in 2013, a 12 percent increase. Last year’s ridership was the highest in the line’s four-year history.
The top reasons people use Northstar Link are cost savings, stress-free travel and convenience, according to Stearns County Commissioner Leigh Lenzmeier, chair of the Northstar Corridor Development Authority. The authority is the group that oversees the Link.
“A majority of customers ride more than one day a week, too, which is helping slow the growth of congestion on highways 10 and 94,” Commissioner Lenzmeier said.
The Northstar Link is a multi-purpose mode of transportation, serving not just commuters but sports fans and students.
“It’s not uncommon to have Sunday evening buses full of students headed back to St. Cloud State University,” Commissioner Lenzmeier said.
Northstar Link provides one trip each week that is not tied to the train schedule. Northstar Link makes it possible to work a half day or make a short, leisurely trip on Fridays. The Fabulous Friday midday bus service starts in St. Cloud at 10:15 a.m. and ends in Minneapolis at 12:45 p.m., with stops in between at
Becker and all Northstar train stations, except Fridley. The bus leaves downtown Minneapolis and heads north at 1 p.m., following the same route.
Information on schedules and fares, which range from $1.25 to $5.50 one way, can be found at www.CatchTheLink.com or by calling 877.LINK.010.