Here are some news tidbits from the report to the CTA board by President Richard Rodriguez.
Ridership trends. While ridership year-to-date is up by almost 1% over last year, the trend over the last few months has been downward. That concerns me because the CTA is counting on almost $1 million to help plug the budget gap.
Blue Line down, Red and Brown up for June. Not surprisingly, ridership on the Blue Line is down 7% in June due to slow zone construction work. And equally unsurprising, the number of rides on the Brown and Red lines in June is up 10% and 3% respectively. That's not surprising because slow zone work and the three-track project adversely affected ridership on the lines in 2008.
Bus rides down, rail up, year-to-date. Comparing 2009 to 2008 overall, bus ridership is down 0.8%, while rail ridership is up 3.8%, for a total system-wide increase of 0.9%, or 23 million rides.
Inching toward filling capital funding needs. Rodriguez reported that adding the $900 allocation from the capital spending law signed into law this week with the $495 million passed earlier brings us $1.395 billion closer to meeting the CTA's total $7 billion capital funding need.
Rodriguez noted: "The right capital investments decrease operating costs, increase reliability and improve overall service quality. They also free up operating dollars for new and innovative
programs. At a time when our operating budget is being battered, we're very appreciative of capital funding that enables us to continue investing in our system. And as we prepare for the reauthorization of the federal transportation bill, it's vital to have state capital funds available to leverage federal dollars."
July 3, 4 were very busy. Total ridership for the two key days of Independence Day weekend was higher than for any other year except 2008.
Finally, a personal prerogative. Happy 19th birthday to my beautiful daughter. And thanks for all the Tattler Tales you've provided over the years. Here are just three from my daughter: