Metro Transit is the transportation resource for the Twin Cities, offering an integrated network of buses, light rail and commuter trains as well as resources for those who carpool, vanpool, walk or bike. It is working to add a light-rail link between downtown Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul as well as developing enhanced express bus service throughout the region.
Metro Transit is one of the country's largest transit systems, providing roughly 90 percent of the 78 million bus trips taken annually in the Twin Cities. Each weekday customers board Metro Transit buses and trains an average of 250,000 times.
Metro Transit operates the Hiawatha light-rail line, Northstar commuter rail line and 123 bus routes — 66 are local-service routes and 51 are express routes and 6 contract service routes, using a fleet of 885 buses. The majority of the agency's fleet (696) are standard 40-foot buses — 97 of these are hybrid-electric vehicles. Additionally, there are 167 articulated ("accordion") buses and 22 are over-the-road coach-style buses. All Metro Transit buses are equipped with wheelchair lifts or ramps and racks for bicycles. All trains feature storage areas for bicycles and luggage.
Metro Transit is an operating division of the Metropolitan Council. Like transit agencies in most metropolitan areas, Metro Transit relies heavily on state and federal money to finance its operations and capital programs. Regional guidelines suggest that a third of Metro Transit's operating budget be generated from customers. In 2011, Metro Transit expects to collect roughly 31 percent of its budget from fares, 48 percent from motor vehicle sales tax (MVST) and 8 percent from the state's general fund. The remainder comes from federal, county and self-generating sources.