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.