July 22, 1999

At its monthly board meeting, the Chicago Transit Authority announced that ridership on the nation's second largest transit system continues to rise due largely to increased pass use. In the first five months of 1999, the CTA has gained 6.2 million customers more than in the same period last year.

During May 1999, overall pass and permit ridership increased systemwide by 78.4% from 5.5 million rides in May of 1998 to 9.8 million rides in May of 1999.The greatest increase was in the use of CTA's new 7-Day pass, which accounted for 7.6% of May 1999's fares. The second largest number of pass uses came from the full fare 30-Day pass, which accounted for 4.7% of the month's fares.

Ridership on the CTA rail and bus network increased by 3% for the month of May 1999 over May 1998. For May 1999, 37.1 million rides were taken on CTA compared to 36.0 million rides taken on the CTA system in May 1998.

Rail ridership in May 1999 increased by 708,420 rides or 6.6% to 11.5 million rides compared to 10.8 million in 1998. Bus ridership in May 1999 increased by 365,689 rides or 1.5% to 25.5 million rides compared to 25.1 million rides in May 1998.

Daily system ridership increases were evident on Sundays and during weekday off-peak hours. For example, in May 1999, an average of 549,971 rides were taken on Sundays, compared to an average of 514,095 in May 1998, for an increase of 7.0%. Weekday off-peak ridership, which are the hours outside of the 6am-9am period and the 3pm-6pm period, increased by 4.7% when 700,948 rides were taken in May 1999, compared to 669,312 rides in May 1998.

"The ridership data illustrates that the new simpler fare structure that we instituted last year is making our system more attractive to our customers and they are using the CTA for more than just traveling to work and riding home," said Valerie B. Jarrett, chairman of the Chicago Transit Board.

In October of last year, the CTA implemented a new fare structure designed to simplify fares and meet the needs of the changing and diverse customer markets. The new fare structure included the following fare changes:

Monthly Pass price to be reduced to $75 from $88 and converted to a 30-day rolling pass; the Reduced Monthly Pass price was changed to $35 from $44 and consolidated with the Accommodation Pass; an experimental 7-Day Pass was made available for $20; the creation of the 1-Day Fun Pass.

Other advantages of the new fare structure included the Transit Card bonus being changed to a $1 bonus for every $10 of value stored on the card; the minimum initial Transit Card purchase price was reduced to $1.50 instead of $3; and the Taxi Access Program fare was reduced to $1.50 from $3.

"It's encouraging to see that our customers are taking advantage of the benefits that our new fare structure provides them. By offering our riders greater flexibility when it comes to paying fares, they are choosing to ride our system more to get to their destinations," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?It's important to offer our customers service that's on-time, clean, safe and friendly, but the service has to be affordable and easy to use. Our simpler fares and new passes make CTA the best way to ride."

Back to news