CTA: ‘L' ridership reaches record high while bus ridership dips slightly in 2015

CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) - The number of rides taken on CTA trains in 2015 reached a record high of more than 241 million, while bus ridership slightly decreased, according to the Chicago Transit Authority.

Since 2014, the total bus and rail rides combined rose by 1.4 million to more than 515 million rides in 2015. For the last eight years, the agency’s bus and rail system provided more than 500 million rides during the year, according to the agency.

But, bus ridership fell slightly – by 0.6 percent – because of the extreme weather in February 2015 and construction projects. In 2015, bus ridership reached 274.3 million and increased on routes in Evanston, near Midway International Airport and on the Far South Side, according to the agency.

The agency credits improvements to the bus system to the implementation of express bus service and bus stop consolidation on Ashland and Western Avenues; the launch of the Loop Link service; the addition of 400 new buses and more CTA bus trackers; and the overhaul of 1,000 buses to make them like new.

In 2015, the CTA’s total rail ridership increased by 1.6 percent to 241.7 million, which is 3.5 million more riders than the record set in 2014, according to the agency.

The Green Line between Cermak/McCormick Place and Garfield stations saw the largest growth in rail ridership, which increased by 11.2 percent to more than 390,000 in 2015, according to the agency, which credits the increase to the opening of Cermak/McCormick place a year ago.

The Blue Line O’Hare branch rose by 5.3 percent, the Blue Line subway increased by 4.6 percent and the Red Line increased by 4.3 percent, according to the agency.

The agency credits these increases in rail ridership to the addition of new stations and 700 new rail cars, restoration of the Yellow Line, investment in new train trackers and overall station improvements.

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