June 16, 1999

Over the first four months of 1999, the Chicago Transit Authority posted an increase in the number of bus and rail riders on its system greater than the ridership gains of all of 1998. From January through April, the CTA has increased the number of rides provided by over 5 million, compared to a 4.9 million ride increase over the twelve months of 1998 and ridership decreases in prior years.

The 1999 year-to-date ridership data demonstrates an overall increase of 3.7% throughout the CTA system. Bus ridership increased by 2.75 million rides, or 2.9%, and rail ridership increased by 2.36 million rides, or 5.6%.

Ridership for the entire year 1998 was 424.1 million rides, compared to 419.2 million in 1997, a total increase of 1.2 percent.

Instrumental to this ridership trend has been the more flexible fare structure that includes 1-Day Fun Passes, 7-Day Passes, and 30-Day Passes. The University Pass program (U-PASS) Pass and the Visitor Pass program of 2, 3, and 5 Day Passes have contributed heavily as well. Pass/permit users, who are allowed unlimited rides at lower costs, accounted for 78.2% of the increase during the four-month period, 67.3% on bus and 118% on rail.

By themselves, 7-Day Passes account for 280,000 purchases between January and April 1999. Each of these passes provides an average of 26.5 rides on the CTA system.

"I?m pleased to see this continuing trend of ridership increases on our buses and trains. Offering our customers a greater number of options such as the 7-day pass, the U-PASS, and the visitor passes while improving our overall service is paying off," said CTA President Frank Kruesi.

Added CTA Chairman Valerie B. Jarrett, "The recent passage of the Illinois FIRST legislation will allow us to continue our commitment to deliver quality, affordable transit services. The funding will go a long way toward bringing the CTA into a state of good repair which, in turn, will allow us to better serve our customers and continue the upward ridership trend."

Data shows that overall ridership for the month of April 1999 is up by nearly 2 million rides, which is a 5.4 % increase, over the same month of 1998. Bus ridership in April 1999 was up 1.3 million or 5.2% over April 1998 figures. Rail ridership in April was up 600,000, or a 5.8% increase over last year. In both cases, CTA pass/permit ridership led the way with increases of 80.8% on the bus system and 136.7% on the rail system over April 1998.

Back to news