ST. CLOUD -- Northstar Link ridership was up in 2012 compared to 2011.

The commuter bus which connects to the Northstar Rail Line in Big Lake saw 8.7% more people ride the bus than the year before. The total number of passengers in 2012 was 50,486.

In fact, since the bus started running in 2009, passenger numbers have grown every year.

In a news release from St. Cloud Metro Bus, the top three reasons people use the bus are cost savings, stress-free travel and convenience. Stearns County Commissioner Leigh Lenzmeier is the chair of the Northstar Corridor Development Authority. He says "a majority of customers ride more than one day a week, which is helping slow the growth of congestion on highway 10 and 94."

Metro Bus says passengers also use the bus for special events like Twins games, and SCSU students often use the Northstar Link to travel between home and school.