February 5, 2003

Chicago Transit Authority ridership in 2002 showed an increase for the fifth consecutive year, with 2.4 million more rides taken on CTA buses and trains than in 2001. Total ridership reached 457.3 million for a gain of 0.5 percent from 2001. CTA is one of only five major transit agencies in the country expected to post such an achievement.

?In a year where the region's economy struggled, it is particularly satisfying to record an increase," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Valerie B. Jarrett. ?I am proud at how CTA employees worked together to bring about improved services to our customers. I also am pleased to know that our customers recognize these improvements."

For 15 years, ridership was on a downward spiral with the CTA losing 40 percent of its customers leading up to an all time system wide low of 419.2 million rides in 1997. The final 2002 figures, reported at the Transit Board's monthly meeting today, represent an increase of 9.1 percent over the 1997 figures.

'since then, through new initiatives and our focus on providing on time, clean, safe and friendly service, we have succeeded in winning back customers in each of the past five years," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?As we continue to modernize our fleet, rebuild our infrastructure, and make service improvements that offer comfort and convenience, we hope to see this trend continue."

CTA's 2003 budget includes a Capital Improvement Plan of $539 million. These capital improvement projects help the CTA maintain ridership and attract new customers. They include the ongoing rehabilitation of the Cermak (Douglas) Branch of the Blue Line; the Brown Line Capacity Expansion Project; delivery of 226 low-floor articulated buses; installation of an automated bus announcement system; upgrade of the bus turnaround at 95th Street; renovation of eight stations on the Dan Ryan Branch of the Red Line; the reconfiguration of Harrison Curve and upgrades to the signal and communications systems at Clark Junction.

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