The CTA today announced that 2009 combined bus and rail ridership totaled
521.2 million rides, a decrease of 1 percent (5.1 million rides) over 2008 ridership. Even so, totals were stronger than the agency expected considering the dramatic impact the recession has had throughout the year.
CTA ridership in 2009 still surpassed 2007 figures, when the agency recorded 439.5 rides.
“The fact that CTA has lost very little ground from a ridership standpoint under the most difficult financial circumstances this country has seen in decades is something I feel is encouraging,” said CTA President Richard L. Rodriguez. “It would be unreasonable to expect that the growth in ridership CTA has experienced in recent years would sustain itself with so many people unemployed and businesses struggling. The fact that it is only a 1 percent drop demonstrates the value of public transit as a convenient, cost-effective travel option.”
CTA projected 2009 ridership at 517.4 rides.
“We are committed to providing as much service as we can within our limited resources and ask that our riders stick with CTA while the economic recovery moves forward,” said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Terry Peterson. “Although the upcoming service reductions will inconvenience everyone who relies on CTA, we will continue to work to manage riders’ expectations and restore whatever levels we can when our financial outlook improves.”
Rail ridership was 202.6 million for 2009, an increase of 2.2 percent or 4.4 million rides, compared to 2008. The largest ridership increases were recorded outside of the morning and evening rush periods. Bus ridership in 2009 wad 318.7 million, a 2.9 percent decrease from 2008, or 9.5 million fewer rides.
Over the past decade, CTA has seen overall ridership grow by 54.6 million rides—11.7 percent. Rail ridership has lead the surge with a 21.7 percent increase (35 million rides) compared to 1999, and bus ridership increased by 6.6 percent (20 million rides) over the same period.
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