May 3, 2000

Ridership increases through the first quarter of 2000 show that the CTA is continuing to build on its record of the past year, which produced the greatest gains since 1976.

For the month of March, overall ridership was up by 1.4 million, or 3.7 percent above the total for March of last year. Of that total, 801,229 more trips were made by bus, for a gain of 3 percent, while rail ridership increased by 628,793, or 5.2 percent.

"We?re encouraged by these continuing gains to keep looking for new ways to strengthen our service and attract even more customers," said CTA Chairman Valerie B. Jarrett. "The initiatives we?ve taken to boost ridership are clearly paying off, and we?re doing everything we can to keep up the momentum."

Through the first quarter of 2000, ridership reached 110.7 million, for a gain of 5.2 million, or 4.9 percent over the first three months of 1999. There were 75.2 million trips taken by bus, or 3.9 percent more than in the comparable period of last year. At the same time, rail ridership reached 35.2 million, for a gain of 7.2 percent.

A 34.6 percent rise in the use of passes has helped fuel the ridership gains. The passes, which can be used for unlimited riding within a set number of days, were introduced in December, 1998. Especially popular are the 7 and 30-day passes that become valid when they are first used, rather than at the start of a particular week or month.

Passes were used for 20 million trips on buses in the first quarter of 2000, or 6.3 million more times than in the same period of 1999. Pass usage for 'L' trips reached 7million, for a gain of 2.7 million. Of all pass fare types, the most popular were 7-day passes, which sell for $20 and were used more than 11 million times in the first quarter of 2000, for an increase of 126.7 percent over the same period of 1999.

"Our customers are taking advantage of the many fare options we are now offering by riding our system more often," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. "They are also responding to our focus on customer service that is improving the quality of their rides on CTA."

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