Pink Line, Forest Park Blue Line and West Side Bus Routes See Increased Ridership

October 3, 2006
10/3/06

Ridership on the new Pink Line and Forest Park branch of the Blue Line has steadily increased since service enhancements were introduced to customers at the end of June. Both the bus and rail service improvements were designed to provide customers with more service, better connections and faster trips.

?The new Pink Line routing and more frequent service have contributed to ridership growth on the recently renovated line," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?When comparing station entrance numbers from 54th/Cermak to Polk, ridership is nine percent higher this August than last August on the branch. On the Forest Park branch it is seven percent higher comparing station entrances from the Forest Park station to the Illinois Medical District station."

One month following the introduction of the service enhancements, CTA surveyed a representative sample of customers using quantitative metrics such as travel time, walking distance and overall satisfaction to gauge the quality of service. From July 24 through August 5, CTA's market research department conducted on-board surveys in English and Spanish of 2,267 West Side corridor rail customers on three rail lines to determine the initial reaction to the service improvements.

? 81 percent of Pink Line customers surveyed are satisfied with the service.

" Slightly more than half (56 percent) of Pink Line customers surveyed perceive their current trips to be faster than before the service was reconfigured.

" 70 percent of Pink Line customers surveyed report walking a shorter distance or the same distance to complete their trips prior to the service being reconfigured.

" 87 percent of Forest Park Blue Line customers surveyed are satisfied with the service.

" Nearly half (49 percent) of Forest Park Blue Line customers surveyed perceive their trips to be faster since the frequency of service was increased in June.

In addition, ridership on the majority of the 13 bus routes included in the service improvement package has also increased slightly, posting a net gain of 1 percent across the routes in July 2006 compared to July 2005, and 0.2 percent in August 2006 compared to August 2005. Bus service enhancements were designed to improve efficiency throughout the corridor by improving connections and improving travel time with more direct service. CTA will continue to monitor the performance of the routes throughout the six-month experimental period as well as solicit customer feedback on the service.

"CTA has worked hard over time to use the resources available to design service that is focused on customer needs," added Kruesi. ?As a result of our efforts, CTA ridership has increased in seven of the past eight years and through this substantial investment in additional transit service for the West Side and near west suburbs, we expect to see ridership continue to grow."

The Pink Line operates seven days a week from the 54th/Cermak station in Cicero to the Loop. Pink Line hours of operation are from 4 a.m. to 1 a.m. from 54th/Cermak to the Loop and 4:25 a.m. to 1:25 a.m. from the Loop to 54th/Cermak. A total of 22 stations are served by the Pink Line. In addition, customers still have the option of 54th/Cermak Blue Line service to the Dearborn Street subway during weekday rush periods.

The frequency of service on the Forest Park branch of the Blue Line increased, especially during weekday off-peak hours and weekends, and provides improved access to CTA and Pace buses along the route. The Forest Park branch of the Blue Line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The service enhancements established five new bus routes, the #X9 Ashland Express, #X20 Madison/Washington Express, #38 Ogden/Taylor, #X54 Cicero Express and the #127 Roosevelt/Madison Circulator. In addition, improvements were made to eight existing bus routes throughout the corridor. The routes include the #7 Harrison, #21 Cermak, #37 Sedgwick, #52 Kedzie/California, #52A South Kedzie, #86 Narragansett/Ridgeland, #90 Harlem and the #91 Austin.

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