Better equipment, better facilities, a recovering economy and high gas prices were key factors contributing to transit ridership increasing year to date, as reported during last week’s Chicago Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) board meeting.
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra and Pace accommodated more than 443.5 million passengers on the region’s rail and bus system, a 3.2% increase above last year and the highest reported ridership through August in the last 10 years.
The CTA’s rail ridership increase of 4.4% was among the highest in the country during the second quarter of 2012, according to the American Public Transportation Association.
Pace Suburban bus service showed the strongest ridership increase by 6.4% over last year. The CTA also fared very well with an overall increase in ridership of 3.6% above last year, with rail ridership outpacing bus ridership by about 2%.
While Metra did not see an increase in ridership over prior year, they managed to stay only 1% below last year’s ridership numbers despite a 25% fare increase. This decline is less than what Metra anticipated though, as ridership through August is 0.7% higher than budget.
Pace ADA ridership continued to experience increased ridership at 8.2% above 2011 year-to-date.
If current trends continue, 2012 may be the highest year for ridership system-wide since 1990.