February 6, 2001
For the third year in a row the CTA has gained riders, providing 8.6 million more rides in 2000 than in 1999. Figures released at the CTA Board's monthly meeting Tuesday show ridership on CTA trains and buses has increased by 7.5 percent since reaching a systemwide low point in 1997 to 450.5 million in 2000.

Rail ridership accounted for the largest portion of the gain in 2000, with 5.5 million more trips being taken by train than in 1999. Since dropping to its lowest level in 1993, rail ridership has increased by 24.5 percent to 147.2 million rides last year.

Bus rides reached 303.3 million in 2000, including 1.2 million paratransit rides. This amounted to 1 percent or 3.1 million more rides than in 1999, and a gain of 4.9 percent or 14.1 million rides since bus ridership reached its lowest point in 1997.

?Our efforts to improve service with added bus trips, better equipment and longer 'L' station hours are paying off," said CTA Chairman Valerie B. Jarrett. "Ridership has also been boosted by the partnerships we?ve formed to provide service for employees changing shifts at remote work locations, and by extending nighttime hours for #6 Jeffery Express buses and the Brown Line ?L." We will continue to strengthen service and work toward better matching service to demand."

The number of rides paid for with electronic fare cards reached 349.7 million in 2000, or 77.6 percent of all rides. Only 18.3 percent of fares were paid in cash. At the same time, pass/permit usage was up 14 percent on buses and among paratransit customers in 2000, compared to 1999, and 10.9 percent higher on 'L' trains. Passes and permits paid for about 30 percent of all rides taken on buses, paratransit, and trains, or about 15.6 million more than in 1999.

CTA President Frank Kruesi said, "With 309 new low-floor buses arriving this year from Nova Bus and about 300 rehabilitated, lift-equipped TMC buses being returned to service with air-conditioning by the end of 2001, the CTA is gearing up to handle continuing ridership growth. The full funding grant agreement to rebuild the Blue Line's Cermak (Douglas) branch that was recently signed in Washington D.C. through the bipartisan support of Mayor Daley, Speaker Hastert, Governor Ryan and the entire Illinois Congressional Delegation will result in improved train service attracting even more customers to our system in the years ahead. We?re encouraged in all these efforts by the growing support for mass transit that we?re seeing at all levels of government and from the public, which translates into better service and more riders on our system."

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