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CTA Rail Ridership Booming While Overall Trips Decrease

By Chuck Sudo in News on Mar 7, 2015 8:00PM

Photo credit: Kevin Irvine

If you're riding the "L" more often these days, congratulations—you're part of the largest growing ridership the Chicago Transit Authority has seen in a half century.

CTA reported 238.1 million rail rides in 2014, the highest number since the agency began tracking the data in 1961. That's the bright spot in a recently released report that also shows CTA's overall ridership of rail and bus combined declined by 2.8 percent year over year from 2013. However, CTA says that's actually in line with their projections, since bus ridership fell by eight percent last year mostly affected by the brutal winter that left the city in a kung fu grip for months.

Guess who said this is another sign Chicago is a "world class city?"

“These historic increases in rail ridership prove that our investments in the CTA are starting to pay dividends for residents in every neighborhood. These projects are creating local jobs all throughout Chicago today and helping to keep our city on the move for tomorrow,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “While we have made progress, there is more work to do, so now is the time to keep our momentum going so we can drive ridership higher and make sure that Chicago remains economically competitive in every neighborhood for years to come.”

“The record demand for rail service continues as the CTA continues to make the unprecedented transit investments initiated by Mayor Emanuel to improve and modernize our system,” added CTA President Forrest Claypool. “We’ve been able to make these extensive improvements while still holding the line on base fares and adding service to meet demand.”

To summarize, public transit riders would rather brave a soiled hobo corner than wait for a bus in subzero temps. That's smart thinking.