On Wednesday, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) announced that 2009 combined bus and rail ridership totaled 521.2 million rides, a decrease of one percent (5.1 million rides) over 2008 ridership. CTA projected 2009 ridership at 517.4 rides.
CTA ridership in 2009 did surpass 2007 figures, when the agency recorded 439.5 rides.
Rail ridership was 202.6 million for 2009, an increase of 2.2 percent or 4.4 million rides, compared to 2008. The largest ridership increases were recorded outside of the morning and evening rush periods. Bus ridership in 2009 wad 318.7 million, a 2.9 percent decrease from 2008, or 9.5 million fewer rides.
Over the past decade, CTA has seen overall ridership grow by 54.6 million rides - 11.7 percent. Rail ridership has lead the surge with a 21.7 percent increase (35 million rides) compared to 1999, and bus ridership increased by 6.6 percent (20 million rides) over the same period.
Additionally, the CTA is providing several avenues for customers to obtain information about the upcoming service changes beginning February 7. The service reductions are necessary as a result of lower than anticipated revenues due to the sluggish economy.
Two weeks ago, the CTA began posting customer alerts on buses, trains and at other CTA facilities. The alerts outlined the routes that will be affected by the service reductions next month.
Last week, information was posted on digital displays and other electronic signage at rail stations. Also, affected bus routes began to play announcements outlining specific changes in the hours of operation and a reminder if the route will run with less frequent service or if the route is being eliminated.
Detailed information also was posted on CTA's Website. Customers can access information regarding changes to service, including route-by-route changes.
Signs at all CTA bus stops notifying customers of the changes to service are scheduled to be in place by the end of the month.