October 18, 1999

The CTA Board announced at its monthly meeting Monday that August ridership on CTA buses and trains increased by 3.2 million over the same period of 1998, producing the largest monthly gain this year. The August increase puts ridership for the year to date at 11.9 million above the first eight months of 1998.

The August ridership increase included 1.7 million additional trips on buses, for a gain of 7.2 percent, and 1.5 million more on 'L' trains, or 14.1 percent above August, 1998 figures. For the year to date, bus ridership is up 5.8 million, or 3 percent, while rail ridership has increased by 7 percent to 6.1 million.

Of the 37.7 million trips taken on CTA in August, almost 10.5 million were made using passes and permits, or 5 million more than a year ago. At the same time, almost 1.9 million fewer rides were made by customers paying with fare cards, cash or transfers, or with the tokens that were phased out earlier this year.

"What we're seeing is more evidence that our simplified fare plan is working just the way it was intended, encouraging more customers to use passes that are both convenient and economical," said CTA Chairman Valerie B. Jarrett. "Passes are attractive because they're good for unlimited riding, and customers like being able to choose when to activate them."

"With colleges back in session, we expect to see ridership go up even higher," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. "We've got 19 colleges signed up for our popular University Pass program this fall, which is six more than last spring. Higher ridership can also be attributed to increased effort by our employees to provide customer service. Customers are recognizing that their questions and concerns are being answered, and they feel more comfortable riding the CTA."

Most popular among the passes available this year to CTA customers are 7-Day Passes that sell for $20. During August, 7-Day Passes were used for 3.6 million rides on CTA, compared to 3.2 million in July and 2.9 million in June. Also in August, some 2.8 million rides were taken using full and reduced-fare 30-Day Passes, while almost 300,000 trips were made using 1,2,3 and 5-Day Visitor Passes and 1-Day Fun Passes.

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