Commuters Ditch Cars, Opt for Mass Transit in Snow

Updated: 12/11/2012 8:57 AM By: Chris Egert

It is Minnesota code to be able to drive in the snow - we pride ourselves in it.

But for those willing to let someone else do the driving -- they found the Monday commute downright dandy.

About 1,600 people took the Northstar trains Monday morning, which is a 25 percent jump in typical ridership.

St. Cloud commuter Anthony Farag said, "it's been good - it is clean - on time - price ain't bad - we've been pleased."

Anthony Farag rode the rails for only his second time Monday.

He pulled out of the downtown train station at 4:27pm and arrived in big lake at 5:29.

When asked if it was better than driving on a snowy day Farag beamed "oh heck yeah!"

Metro transit doesn't have the same ability to immediately track ridership on light rail and busses - but typically they do see a jump in ridership on snow days.

Commuter Derwin Ellis told us, “Weather is like this i take the light rail. It is more reliable, less headaches from the traffic and dealing with the roads."

Derwin Ellis was headed from Target Field to south Minneapolis via light rail.

In the 30 minutes it took him to get from downtown to his front door, we had traveled only 6 blocks in Downtown Minneapolis!

The evening commute was ugly.

Joyce DuPont was taking the bus, putting up with some minor delays, yet not willing to cast stones as those who were stuck in their cars.

DuPont said, “I feel sorry for them. And I'm glad it’s not me."

It is days like today metro transit hopes will convince people to get "all aboard" more often.

John Siqveland, spokesperson for Metro Transit stressed, “It doesn't matter if it is raining, sunny, snowy, those trains are going to run on time."

Success for mass transit does come at a price.

While there were plenty of seats available on Northstar, it was standing room only on a lot of the busses we saw -- it was also quite cozy on light rail.