August 2, 2000

The CTA announced Wednesday that about 7 million more rides were taken on its buses and trains during the first six months of 2000 than in the same period of 1999, continuing a steady rise that began two years ago.

Total ridership reached 224.1 million for the first half of 2000. Of the additional rides, 3.6 million were made on CTA trains, for a gain of 5.2 percent, while 3.4 million more trips were made by bus, or 2.3 percent above last year's number.

CTA Chairman Valerie B. Jarrett said, "It's obvious that the improvements to our service that we have made are resonating with our customers. We are attracting new customers while encouraging others to ride more often."

Greater numbers of customers than ever before are now using CTA fare cards that allow unlimited rides for specific periods of time, such as Visitor Passes, 1,2, 3 and 5-Day Passes, and 7 and 30-Day Passes. Together with permit holders, passes accounted for 66.2 million fare registrations in the first six months of 2000, or almost 25 percent more than in the same period of 1999.

?We?re now in our third year of ridership increases," said CTA President Frank Kruesi, "and customers are seeing results from our efforts to provide them with on-time, clean safe and friendly service. They?re taking full advantage of the many fare options we?ve made available to them, and our new automated announcements are making 'L' riders more confident about using the system. We?re also continuing to strengthen service by keeping 'L' stations open longer and extending operating hours on routes like the #6 Jeffery Express and the Brown Line in response to demonstrated demand."

Since the decline in ridership was reversed in 1998, almost 30 million additional trips have been taken on CTA buses and trains, for an average of a million more each month. The introduction of a Smart Card pilot program in August is expected to further facilitate fare payment, and to encourage continuing increases in the use of CTA service.

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