CTA ridership down less than 1% in 2010

Despite a wretched economy and big service cuts, ridership on the Chicago Transit Authority dropped just under 1% last year compared to 2009.

There were almost 517 million rides taken on the CTA in 2010, which was about 4.7 million more than the CTA expected, but still a 0.8 percent drop from 2009, said CTA President Richard Rodriguez.

Such a small ridership drop is unexpected given that bus service was cut 18 percent and rail service reduced by 9 percent. Not surprisingly, though, bus ridership dipped 4 percent last year. But rail ridership increased just over 4 percent. The CTA enjoyed higher ridership on weekends.

Through November of 2010 there were 70.3 million free rides by senior citizens and others. The state Legislature earlier this week eliminated free rides for all seniors and instead will apply a means test for low-income seniors to ride free. All other seniors would pay half price. Gov. Quinn has not yet signed the legislation.

The RTA expects the CTA would get back between $25 and $30 million if the governor approves the law.

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  • "Such a small ridership drop is unexpected given that bus service was cut 18 percent and rail service reduced by 9 percent. Not surprisingly, though, bus ridership dipped 4 percent last year. But rail ridership increased just over 4 percent."

    Let's see. When the 2005-2007 Doomsdays were proposed, Carole Brown said "we cut the routes, lose passengers and their fares, we lose the subsidy match, so, with a $54 million deficit, we have to cut $220 million of service." Rodriguez implements cuts, and in a bad economy compared to 2005-2007, ridership is virtually unchanged, the only thing being that some is diverted to the more efficient mode, rapid transit. And Chris thinks I'm supposed to respect what CTA says, when Carole was pitching bull on her blog?

    "Through November of 2010 there were 70.3 million free rides by senior citizens and others." "The RTA expects the CTA would get back between $25 and $30 million if the governor approves the law."

    So, it was the RTA rather than the CTA that figured it as I said someone did, in that someone figured that pretty much those who get free rides would pay half fare. We have to add to this that the city council mandated that the military gets free fares, but we don't know how many these are. However, if a big chunk of the seniors get the circuit breaker cards, they won't being paying half fare, and, as I said a couple of days ago, there isn't as much demand by the others once it isn't free. Yet, according to AB, it's take it or leave it.

    I'm not brain dead. However, I see what kind of voters put the current despots into office. I stand on my remarks yesterday.

  • In reply to jack:

    I didn't say you have to believe what Carole Brown says, I just said that you should at least go give your input (and you have plenty!) at one of the announced meetings, instead of simply complaining that they're asking for your opinion.

    Did you vote?

  • The big issue is the lack of capacity for future transit growth. There's clearly a growing demand for public transit (as evidenced by Chicago, New York, DC, etc. transit growth trends over the past decade), but the CTA is extremely constrained in its ability to meet that demand. With Chicago's current system - which features crush-load trains at rush hour, buses crawling down congested streets with stops every block, and never-ending funding crises - we'll never be able to provide the level of service needed.

    I think the CTA needs to take a hard look at the key transit priorities in the city (based on ridership, job growth, density, etc.) and determine how to better invest its resources to make the system work. A reconstructed north branch of the Red Line is probably the most critical, but so are some initial BRT routes (Ashland, Western, Chicago, etc.), infill train stations, and a better West Loop connection (that's where future CBD growth will be).

    To do that, of course, there will have to be cutbacks in other places, increases in fares, or reductions in employee wages. Regardless, we should have a clear idea of transit priorities so that the system can plan better for the continued increases in demand that are bound to come.

  • In reply to aaronjbrown:

    I would say that this indicates that you've come to your senses, but if we believe the CTA, it hasn't.

    According to a Federal Register notice, to which a link was posted by Kevin Zolkiewicz of chicagobus.org, Alternative 6, besides a Broadway two track subway, also suggests ripping out the embankment north of Loyola, and replacing the 4 track with a two track aerial structure between Loyola and Howard. That sure sounds like prioritizing for where the demand is. Right.

    I'm not going back to yesterday's thread, but it seemed like the conclusion there was that Alternative 6 was a straw man, to make Alternatives 2-4 look practical by comparison. Maybe so, but if what AB says should really be the way of allocating resources, CTA should not have wasted its time with it.

    Unfortunately, CTA seems totally unwilling to prioritize in a cutback, instead of using meataxe approaches, such as Sunday schedules 7 days a week (Carole Brown) or eliminate most X service and cut all routes proportionately after putting back what resources were given to the Xs into the locals (what Rodriguez did, and apparently with less havoc than what was predicted for the purely political Doomsday ones). Of course, there is also the failure to coordinate with Pace, something the CTA was at least willing to do in 1997.

  • In reply to jack:

    Glad to see we can agree on something, jack.

    I also don't understand the rationale for the switch from an embankment to a "modern aerial structure," but would like to find out. That's why I'll be at the meetings.

  • In reply to aaronjbrown:

    To be able to spend LOTS of money with "connected" consultants, contractors, suppliers, vendors, etc., etc., etc...

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