Sales of the 1-Day Fun Pass and the increasingly popular 7-Day Pass were extended for another six months by the CTA Board at its monthly meeting Wednesday. The CTA said it needed additional time to determine how the continued use of the experimental passes will affect future operating revenues. Both passes were introduced in late 1998.
The CTA announced that ridership on its buses and trains was continuing an upward trend, with 37.3 million trips reported in July, 1999, or 1.2 million more than in July of last year. Pass and permit use accounted for 10.1 million rides, up 92.2 percent from July, 1998, when the only regular passes available were the $5 One-Day Visitor Pass and the monthly pass, which had not yet been changed to a 30-Day Pass and reduced in price from $88 to $75. For 1998 as a whole, ridership increased by 4.9 million, or 1.2 percent from 1997.
Through July 31, 1999, the CTA system recorded 8.7 million more rides than in the first seven months of 1998, for a gain of 3.5 percent. Of this total, rail ridership was up by 6 percent, and bus ridership by 2.4 percent.
"These encouraging numbers show we've done much more than just turn a corner," said CTA Chairman Valerie B. Jarrett. "Ridership is taking off, and it reflects a positive response to our efforts to make the CTA system more customer friendly and to strengthen service where the demand clearly exists."
The introduction of the Fun Pass; 2-, 3- and 5-Day Visitor Passes, the 7-Day Pass and the 30-Day Pass were among the initiatives taken over the past year to boost ridership. The CTA also introduced the University Pass (U-PASS) that provides college students unlimited discounted rides for an entire term, created new express bus routes, and added new station entrances on the 'L' system.
"What's particularly heartening about the July figures," said CTA President Frank Kruesi, "is that ridership continued to increase even when colleges were out for the summer and U-PASSes couldn?t be used. There was a steady rise in the use of 7-Day Passes, and a seasonal increase in Visitor Pass usage."
In July, 7-Day Passes, which sell for $20, were used for 3.2 million rides, compared to 2.9 million in June, 2.8 million in May, and 2.5 million in April. The combined usage of Fun Passes and 1-, 2-, 3- and 5-Day Visitor Passes went from 160,000 in April to 182,000 in May, 203,000 in June, and 230,000 in July.###