CTA: Ridership Increases in Nine of the Past 10 Years

CHICAGO —  Combined bus and rail ridership increased by 4.7 million rides in 2007, a gain of 1 percent over 2006 ridership, for a total of 499.5 million rides.

It is the highest ridership level since 1992. CTA has gained 60 million annual rides since the lowest year of 1997.

Weekend ridership showed the strongest rate of growth throughout the year. Saturday ridership in 2007 increased by 1.1 percent over last year and Sunday/Holiday ridership increased by 1.9 percent.

The CTA’s bus system posted particularly strong gains. The bus system provided 309.3 million rides, an increase of 10.8 million rides over 2006, or a gain of 3.6 percent. Throughout the year, bus boardings surpassed levels not seen since 1994.

Rail provided 190.2 million rides which was 2.5 percent, or 4.9 million, fewer rides than in 2006. The agency anticipated reduced rail ridership due to several major projects to repair and rebuild the system. The slow zone construction project resulted in service disruptions on the Red and Blue Lines.

Work to expand capacity on the Brown Line has involved temporary station closures and reduced track operations at the Belmont and Fullerton stations. As a result of these projects many rail customers switched to bus service throughout 2007. Overall, rail ridership remains strong. Despite the drop in 2007, rail ridership was at its highest point since 1970. In 2006, rail ridership was at its highest point since 1968.

“The growth in 2007 ridership shows that more customers are choosing the CTA for discretionary trips as well as their workday commutes, and that reflects the critical role that public transit plays within the region,” CTA President Ron Huberman said. “As we continue to make service improvements we expect to see continued ridership growth.”

— Special to Railfanning.org News Wire