Former CTA President Richard Rodriguez left the transit agency in decent shape financially for new boss Forrest Claypool.
For the first quarter of 2011, the CTA found itself $9.1 million in black, primarily due to lower operating costs compared to budget, according to a May board report.
Lower labor costs accounted for almost two-thirds of that. Labor expenses were $5.8 million favorable to budget "due to delayed hiring, unfilled vacancies, and higher charges to capital jobs." Total operating expenses were about $15 million lower than budget.
However, fare and pass revenue was $5.2 million less than budget, "primarily due to lower ridership and a lower average fare. The average fare for the first quarter was $0.99 per ride and was $0.02 less than budget."
Still, the CTA continues to have a high fare recovery ratio. The recovery ratio measures the percentage of operating expenses CTA funds from internally generated revenues. The ratio was 54% for the year through March -- a full percentage point better than budgeted. The CTA is required by state law to maintain at least a 50% recovery ratio.