CTA Has Now Achieved Ridership Increases in Nine of the Past 10 Years
The CTA today announced that 2007 combined bus and rail ridership increased by 4.7 million rides, a gain of 1 percent over 2006 ridership, for a total of499.5 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," said CTA President Ron Huberman. "As we continue to make service improvements we expect to see continued ridership growth."
"Major strides were made this year in improving service through our significant investment in repair and maintenance across the system. Despite the inconveniences associated with these efforts our riders adjusted as evidenced by the year's ridership figures," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Carole Brown. "We are grateful for their support throughout a very challenging year."
The funding legislation passed last week addresses issues with the CTA's operating budget, pension fund and healthcare trust. A capital program, similar to Illinois FIRST, that will provide matching state funds for federal money remains unresolved. The CTA is working with the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) and the Illinois Legislature for a capital program that will ensure that all available federal transit funds are appropriated to improve the CTA's aging system.
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