Would you ride commuter rail if it were available to you?

Monday will see the start of service on the Northstar line, the train that will carry commuters between the Twin Cities and Big Lake, Minn. Would you ride commuter rail if it were available to you?

  • As an ex-pat New Yorker who rode the subway day in and day out (to say nothing of the PATH system, Metro North, NJ Transit, and the LIRR), I would definitely be inclined and comfortable in riding a commuter train or light rail to work if it were available.

    In point of fact, I would prefer to use such options if they were available.

  • Damon

    Absolutely. I rode CalTrans from SF to Palo Alto everyday for about a year, and never did I get so much reading, correspondence & work done! By the time you get home, you’re ready to BE HOME, mentally & physically.

  • Matt

    I would absolutely ride the commuter rail. Even though I no longer live in the suburbs I can still see my self using it to visit friends and family.

  • Mike in St Paul

    I would love to, but it’s unrealistic for me, as my job requires me to visit job sites and visit various locations.

  • Brian

    Yes, I would ride a commuter train (or bus or LRT or trolley/streetcar) if it was a practical commute. I very much miss my workday bus time when I worked in downtown Minneapolis. I got a whole lot of things done, including reading the daily news, and the cost was less than driving. Different land use planning than is currently used in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro is very important to better transit.

  • Sean

    Definitely…when I lived in D.C. there was no need for a car, and the Metro was inexpensive, reliable, and convenient, as well as environmentally-friendly. I see so many one-occupant vehicles in the metro area I’m not sure Minnesotans would go for it though, we seem to like our cars.

  • art

    Yes! I m looking forward to riding the Northstar commuter rail on Monday morning. Art from Buffalo MN

  • Brad

    I’m looking forward to riding the Southwest Transitway in 2016. I’ve ridden the “El” in Chicago and the Metra, and they’re a great way to get to work.

  • Bob Moffitt

    I can’t yet get to work via commuter rail and LRT, but it is a great way to get to the airport. Next time I fly, I’m taken the NorthStar into the Target Field station, then catching the light rail to the airport.

  • Molly

    I’m already a bus commuter and I’m looking forward to having new rail options in the Twin Cities.

  • Michelle

    Definately! I live in Eagan and have to travel to St. Louis Park to work. I drive all the time. It is a chore. I would love to sit on the train and just watch the city go by or read the newspaper. I am usually lugging a cart with my briefcase and files but I don’t see that as a problem like it is on a bus. Unfortunately I will probably be retired before they get the connection that I need.

  • I will use it to travel downtown, but it is too expensive to get on the train in Big Lake and get off in Ramsey or Coon Rapids. If there was a reduced rate I would use it daily!

  • Denis

    Absolutely; I’m a huge supporter of fixed rail transit. My partner and I actually just bought a house in Midway St. Paul in anticipation of the future Central Corridor line.

  • Mary

    Yes, I already love using light rail when I can, particularly going to and from the airport–part of that trip is by bus for me, but that’s fine because I use my small suitcase these days. I can’t wait for the Saint Paul section to be built.


  • bsimon

    I wish I could use rail-based public transit rather than default to the car (with occasional biking). I live near the hiawatha line, but work in a suburb. A couple months ago I flew to San Fran & used public transit door-to-door for an easy trip. No exhorbitant parking, no rental car, no relying on a friend to drive me to the airport. Just a 3 block walk to the light rail on this end, and Cal Tran and the cable cars on the other end.

  • Caitlin

    I use the bus system, light rail, and cycling paths in conjunction daily. I frequent businesses along the Hiawatha line for the convenience of bringing my bike onto the train. Like many college students, I’m looking forward to using the Northstar line for making weekend trips to Mankato.

  • Susan Marsh

    In a heartbeat. I live in Minneapolis and commute to Shakopee everyday at an early hour. How lovely it would be to read the paper every morning. I’ve used the lightrail many times and use the bus lines as well. It’s a no brainer when you think about the wear and tear on the car and the cost of gas and the emissions.

  • Andy

    Definitely. If we had a legitimate commuter rail system that “hubbed” in Minneapolis and/or Saint Paul and “spoked” to St. Clould/Fargo; Duluth; Red Wing; Rochester; Albert Lea; and Mankato…We would visit these places with a much high frequency. As it is now living in Saint Paul, we maybe get to Duluth once a year and rarely to any of the other places…For a variety of reasons, it’s not worth it for us to drive to these places…but we would definitely hop on a commuter train.

  • Noelle

    Without a doubt. I already bus to work daily, and stepping onto a warm bus in winter beats scraping snow and ice off the car any day – not to mention I save money on car insurance and maintenance with the savings on annual mileage alone.

    I think the addition of a metro area train system that also takes commuters to the suburbs instead of just the downtown areas would be incredibly valuable.

  • Jay M

    Most likely. I used to live in a suburb and commute to work via car, but I found that experience unpleasant. I looked into the bus option, but that would’ve turned a 30-minute commute into a 90-minute commute. So I gradually shifted my place of residence nearer my workplace over time. Now I reside five minutes by car, ten minutes by bus, and twelve minutes by bike from my workplace. Had commuter rail been available, I would’ve had a viable option for a pleasant commute. However, while I believe commuter rail is a better option than commuting by car, I’m slightly opposed to commuting in general. There are many positives on multiple levels (environmental, social, economical) to living near your place of employment.

  • Julianne

    I would MUCH prefer to ride commuter rail than take my car. I’d take it to work everyday.

  • Greg Toltzman


  • Sandra Carney

    Absolutely. I tried riding a bike to work until my knees gave out. I can ride every other day. I can’t afford a Prius or something like that so communter rail is just the ticket.

  • Beth

    I absolutely would use commuter rail if it was available more extensively around the Twin Cities. I ride the Hiawatha line to get to the Mall of America all the time in order to avoid the parking mayhem on weekends.

  • Al

    Absolutely! I would love to have a mass transit option that wasn’t 3 to 4 times the length of my drive. 2 hours with mutliple layovers was the latest estimate of my commute time via Metro Transit buses vs. 30-40 minutes in my car.

  • gail matthews

    Yes, I would. I know that the metro area used to have an extensive rail system because I’ve seen a documentary on the subject, and it was a sad day when it was dismantled for political reasons. Hopefully, we can one day again have a system of transportation that can serve us like that one did.

  • Patrick

    I would definitely use commuter rail if I had the option. I live on the corner of an old street car stop and am often sad the system was forced into retirement by the auto and road construction industries. Rail simply has a permanent, predictable and aesthetic quality that is more attractive than buses or cars. The capacity of rail also lends itself to a greater positive impact for the environment as well as engendering a much needed sense of commonality and community among users.

  • Peggy

    I’ve been commuting from Rochester daily since mid-June and I am constantly amazed at the number of commuters who are on Highway 52 with me at 5:30 a.m.

    If a commuter train was an option for me, I would definitely use it…I feel I waste 3 hours daily in my commute not to mention the fatigue of driving and weather related issues.

    I would pay more in taxes to get commuter trains instead of paying for stadiums, political travels, etc.

  • jen

    absolutely! i live in the mpls city limits and work at the U and have to DRIVE 2 miles to hop a direct bus. i’d love to be able to get to all the city’s neighborhoods and the suburbs more easily, without having to go downtown first.

  • Absolutely. Much prefer any public transportation to driving, even if the time spent travelling is a little longer.

  • Jen

    Absolutely. I’ve ridden the bus on and off in the past. The more options available to commuters the better.

  • I don’t see it ever happening for those of us who live in one suburb and work in another (Robbinsdale/Minnetonka in my case), but yes, it would be nice.

  • Meggan

    All I’ve got to say is… Uptown to DT MPLS to St. Paul!! If I had this, I would use it all the time!!!

  • brenna

    Of course!

    I agree with “Brian” I very much miss my workday bus time when I worked in downtown Minneapolis. I got a whole lot of things done, including reading the daily news, and the cost was less than driving.

  • Matthew

    Certainly! I live in Inver Grove Heights near 52, work in West St. Paul off of Robert, and have friends I visit frequently in Minneapolis and Hastings. If a route down 52 or Robert Street opened up, I would spend significantly less money trying to keep my tank full, and I’d also save bloodvessel from bursting by avoiding the bottlenecks en route to the cities.

  • Bill Herman

    I’d only ride commuter rail for specified reasons, such as: Going to a pro or college game downtown, or if I had a job that was within walking distance from the stations. Otherwise, the thought of not having my auto available to me is a scary thought.

    I am all for commuter transportation, but see most of it as a benefit and not a necessity.

  • Amy Z

    I would definitely ride one. I live in South Saint Paul, near 52, and I work in the Macalester Groveland area. If I could just take one to downtown to take a bus there I would definitely do it! Right now, with the bus, it would take 1 hour which I am not willing to commit to when it is only 15 – 20 minutes of driving. However, I have hopes that a rail to downtown would bring the public transit commute down to 30 or 40 minutes. Here’s hoping!

  • Wendy Diedrich

    I would love to take a train to work everyday. I live in the Woodbury area near I94 and think that area needs light rail to downtown St. Paul. I work at the U of M but I would much rather change trains in St. Paul than drive every day.

    My only caveat would be that the train would have to run all day like the Hiawatha. I understand the Northstar line will only run during rush hours; that would be a dealbreaker for me. I want the convenience of leaving work in the middle of the day and having my transportation be there for me.

  • mathews

    I certainely will. if i loose minor personal convinience (which i doubt i will) it will be compensated in much greater way by economical convinence plus more. it saves me the boring rush hour commuting time, the ever increasing car related expenses, as well as the lonliness i developed while driving.The only thing i probably miss will be the addictive mpr’s programs.

  • Adele Hansen

    Absolutely! As a former resident of Philadelphia, I took the train and subway to grad school. It was comfortable and efficient. I was shocked to move here with so little concern about public transit. To get from one suburb to another requires transfers, and time. To get from my home in St. L P to Mpls, I have to take two busses. Ridiculous!

    I’d love to be able to drive to a park and ride and jump on a train to the airport.

  • Brian F

    I definitely would. Unfortunately, Joel D makes a good point about inter-suburb travel, which makes up a significant percentage of commuter miles. I’d love to see commuter rail running around the metro on the 494/694 loop, but I don’t know any trillionaires who’d be willing to finance it….

  • Andy

    Are you kidding? The average American can save $9,600 a year by using transit instead of an automobile, and the Department of Energy reports that commuter rail’s per passenger mile carbon emissions are roughly 30% lower than those of driving in spite of usually obsolete equipment. In addition, driving is the most stressful thing I do on a regular basis and riding on a train has always been pleasant and relaxing. I would only continue owning a car long enough to drive it to a used car lot if commuter rail were available to me.

  • Peter T

    I like riding in a train, but I can only use public transportation if it brings me where I need to be: work, school of my son, daycare of my other son, home. That’s a tall order.

  • Dan in Faribault

    Of course not! Why would I pay to ride four blocks?

  • bash


  • Anne

    Yes! I wish it was available now. However, the discussions about bringing light rail through my area (North Minneapolis) are very discouraging. Many people don’t want to have to come near here. Most people who live here are law-abiding and would definitely benefit from this form of transportation. It would also be an economic benefit to the area that would increase business and employment and reduce crime.

    I remember discussing this when I was in college 30 years ago. The same arguments are here now plus a new one – climate change – and it’s not getting any cheaper. I would love to see commuter rail before I have to have someone roll me on in a wheelchair!

  • Scott

    Yes, if I had a long commute. I love rail, it means I can recover commute time and not have it be driving time.

    I’ve been a year-round bike commuter now for 6 years and plan to keep riding in the future. If my circumstances change I’d absolutely use rail. A bike-train multimodal commute would be great too.

    I really like my bike time as right now it ensures I get a least 1 hour of exercise a day basically for “free” in terms of time. A car commute with parking would not be much faster.

    At the end of the day I’ll do just about anything to avoid car commuting. I have no interest in trashing the planet, raising my blood pressure and spending all the money on a car.

  • Laurie MacGregor

    I WOULD BE THRILLED to hop on a train for a daily commute into the Twin Cities. I am sick of driving! This wonderful, progressive state should have been a US leader in inaugurating a public transportation system to the outer Metro areas years ago. Let’s get on with it!

  • JobyLynn

    Yes I would and frankly as a Minneapolis homeowner I did not appreciate when the initial line went in and I was taxed for it and my sister in Burnsville who could use it to get to downtown was not.

    Basically the Minneapolis homeowners were footing the bill to get the suburban commuters downtown to work.

    lets now tax them and expand these lines so I can use them as well.

  • Larry

    I have waited a long time to see the LRT come to the TwinCities. I remember when I was a part of a Technical Colleges debut of the failed Emissions Program back in 1992. Now that LRT has finally made it here, I am not enthused. For seven dollars, I can drive from Becker to Minneapolis for 2 days. Will the cost ever come down, and who’s idea was it not to run all the way to St. Cloud?

  • Max

    I would absolutely love that