MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Twins fans from the northwestern part of the metro area are reportedly going to have one fewer option to get to Twins games this season.
The Star Tribune reports that the Northstar trains will not be running for games in 2022.
According to the Strib report, Anoka County is withholding operational costs this year, which is preventing Metro Transit from running them. A statement Metro Transit sent to WCCO corroborates that report:
"During the pandemic, transit ridership on commuter express routes declined significantly. Northstar was no exception to this, and at one point was down over 95% of pre-pandemic ridership. Metro Transit reduced Northstar service at the start of the pandemic due to the steep decline in demand. At this point, Metro Transit would like to be able to provide more Northstar service including to Twins games, but cannot prudently take on additional costs of doing so without receipt of operating funds expected from Anoka County, the largest county funding partner for Northstar. The Metropolitan Council continues to work with Anoka County regarding Northstar service levels and the county's funding commitment."
Anoka County sent WCCO the following statement earlier Tuesday:
"Northstar is a commuter rail service under the control of Metro Transit –– Anoka County has no decision-making authority over this service and is just one of five funding sources for Northstar (Anoka, Hennepin, and Sherburne counties, rider fares and the State of Minnesota, via the Metropolitan Council).
"The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically affected ridership on the Northstar Commuter Rail Line, and it's unlikely to ever meet its original ridership goals. Anoka County has no signed funding agreement with Metro Transit for 2021 or 2022. Anoka County asked Metro Transit for adjusted costs due to pandemic-related ridership decline in the fall of 2020. Just last week, we finally received figures detailing adjusted shares for subsidizing Northstar. We are in the process of reviewing these figures. Even when payment is complete, it will not have direct bearing on the number of trains to and from locations."
It appears that Twins fans from Anoka, Maple Grove, Elk River, and other cities in that direction are going to have to figure out a different way to get to Target Field this season unless this is resolved.
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