Increasing CTA Ridership Continues to Break Pandemic Records

September 26, 2022

Weekday average tops 900K; both bus and rail ridership growing; downtown ridership doubles  

Ridership across the Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA) rail and bus system recently reached its highest levels in more than two years, as more people return to the office, school and other activities in Chicago and across the region. 

Each of the last four weeks has brought a new, pandemic-era ridership high—bringing the weekday ridership average above 900,000 for the first time since February 2020. Ridership the week beginning September 12 was up 10 percent from the previous year, reaching more than 5.5 million rides. Both bus and rail ridership that week increased over 2021 levels, 8 percent and 13 percent, respectively. 

“Transit is vital to our region as we recover from a long pandemic that upended our daily normal. The recent ridership peaks are an important barometer of our crucial role in providing affordable and green transportation to all,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “The fall season is typically our highest ridership period for the year, and in 2022, that tradition continues. As more riders return to transit, our top focus is providing the most reliable, consistent service possible.” 

The ridership highs over the last four weeks include: 


Daily Ridership 

8/23/22 Tuesday  


8/24/22 Wednesday  


8/25/22 Thursday  




8/30/22 Tuesday  


8/31/22 Wednesday  


9/1/22 Thursday  




9/7/22 Wednesday  


9/8/22 Thursday  




9/14/22 Wednesday  


9/15/22 Thursday  


9/16/22 Friday  


*rounded to the nearest 000 



In January 2022, CTA averaged a little more than 540,000 rides on weekdays and roughly 14.3 million rides for the month. Since then, CTA’s system-wide ridership has grown across the board, with more than 900,000 daily weekday rides and 22.3 million rides provided so far during the month of September.  

In addition to essential workers and many other transit-dependent riders using CTA, the recent ridership growth has been seen among office workers and students. 

Among areas seeing the biggest growth: 

  • Downtown weekday rail ridership jumped 21 percent over 2021, with more than 100,000 average weekday rides provided during the week beginning September 12, up from an average of 38,000 on weekdays in January 2021.  
  • Both AM and PM rush period ridership continues to grow, with downtown rush ridership on Tuesday through Thursday up about 34 percent. 

K-12 student ridership on CTA averaged 68,000 daily rides on weekdays during the week of September 12, an increase of 6 percent compared to the same week last year. Moreover, college students enrolled in the U-Pass program also returned to the system in large numbers with average weekday ridership reaching 65,000.  This represents a 16 percent increase over the same week last year. 

CTA continues to improve all aspects of its operations to provide reliable, affordable, and consistent service to accommodate growing ridership. The agency last month released its “Meeting the Moment” Action Plan, a multi-tiered effort to provide more reliable service and improve the customer experience, while improving security and customer-facing technology tools. For more information on this plan and measures we’re already taking to improve the transit riding experience, visit: transitchicago.com/meetingthemoment/.  


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