November 10, 1999

Average weekday ridership on CTA reached 1.5 million in September, continuing a trend that resulted in 14.7 million more trips being taken on CTA buses and trains through the first nine months of this year than in the same period of 1998.

The September figures, which were announced by CTA President Frank Kruesi at the monthly Chicago Transit Board meeting Wednesday, showed a gain of 6.7 percent, or 1.7 million rides on buses, and 10 percent, or 1.1 million more rides on trains, compared to the same month last year.

For the year to date, 331.1 million rides were taken on CTA, compared to 316.4 million a year earlier. During the first nine months of 1999, bus ridership increased 3.4 percent, or 7.4 million, while rail ridership was 7.4 percent higher than last year, with 7.3 million more trips taken on the 'L' system.

"We have already almost tripled the ridership increase we experienced in all of 1998," said CTA Chairman Valerie B. Jarrett. "Our efforts to simplify fares, strengthen service where it's needed, and upgrade our equipment and facilities have paid off beyond expectation. We're going to build on this progress to keep attracting more customers in the years ahead."

The introduction of new farecard choices late last year continues to bring ridership gains. The use of passes and permits more than doubled on the rail system in September, accounting for 3 million more rides than in September, 1998, while their use on buses increased by 85 percent to 8.4 million.

"We're clearly reversing the downward spiral of the previous 15 years," said President Kruesi. "Our customers are responding to the improvements we're making at the CTA. The challenge for us now is to sustain our momentum and better tailor our service to accommodate growing ridership. There may be some growing pains, but we will constantly monitor our service so that we can continue to provide quality service in this growth environment."

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