CTA ridership increased in 2001 for the fourth year in a row, with 4.3 million more rides taken on CTA buses and trains than in 2000. Annual ridership reached 454.9 million for a gain of 1 percent over 2000. The 2001 figures, which were announced at the CTA Board's monthly meeting Thursday, represent an overall increase of 8.5 percent from the systemwide ridership low of 419.2 million recorded in 1997.
Rail ridership showed a gain of 4.5 million trips or 3.1 percent from 2000 to 151.7 million in 2001. Compared to an all-time rail ridership low of 118.2 million in 1993, rail trips have increased by 28.3 percent in just eight years.
A slight decrease was recorded for bus trips in 2001, which ended with a total of 303.1 million vs. 303.3 million rides in 2000. However, most of the reduction occurred around the middle of the year and ridership began to rebound toward the end of the year. Bus trips in November were 1.8 percent higher than the previous November, and December figures showed a gain of 6 percent from the same month in 2000.
?Customers are responding to our initiatives, such as extending service hours on 'L' lines, upgrading stations and modernizing our bus fleet, by riding our service more often," said CTA Chairman Valerie B. Jarrett. "Renovation of the Cermak (Douglas) branch of the Blue Line, which began last year, can be expected to encourage continuing growth by helping revitalize Little Village, Pilsen, Lawndale and the other communities it serves."
The CTA attributes its continuing ridership increases in part, to improvements in its service and facilities made possible through Governor George Ryan's Illinois FIRST program and other funding sources secured thanks to the leadership of Mayor Richard M. Daley, U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert and other elected officials who support public transit and the CTA in particular.
CTA President Frank Kruesi said, "The ridership increases we?ve experienced for the past four years show that renovation of our infrastructure and reinvestment in our fleet are paying off. Now that the Cermak (Douglas) branch of the Blue Line is getting the same kind of treatment that brought the Green Line back to quality performance, we?re looking forward to helping the Brown Line meet its growing needs and working on new strategies to attract more bus customers."
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