- The CTA's decrowding plan reduced overcrowding on many bus routes by 28 percent in the first quarter of 2013 when compared to the first quarter of 2012.
- On CTA's rail lines, overcrowding was reduced by 35 percent in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the same time frame in 2012.
(Note: All first quarter 2013 bus and rail data excludes the period of March 4-8, 2013, related to the shutdown of the Wells Street Bridge to allow reconstruction of the bridge. Because that extraordinary event dramatically affected scheduled service and ridership patterns, the first quarter data includes an average of 12 weeks instead of 13 weeks of data.)
Under the CTA's decrowding plan, 48 bus routes and six rail lines received additional service primarily during peak times, financed by the discontinuation of 12 "duplicative" and low-ridership bus routes. The crowding-reduction plan provided the equivalent of $16 million in added service to the busiest routes, at no cost to taxpayers.
The service changes were based on the first holistic review of service the CTA had conducted in 15 years. Working in concert with Northwestern University’s Transportation Center (NUTC), the CTA analyzed data on ridership numbers, ridership patterns and route configurations, as well as the availability of other transit options, to maximize service quality.
On CTA buses, here on some examples of reduced crowding in comparing the first quarter of this year to Q1 of 2012:
- #26 South Shore Express: crowding declined 59 percent and average wait times fell 12 percent, as ridership increased 3 percent.
- #3 King Drive: crowding fell 20 percent and wait times declined 6 percent, as ridership remained steady #76 Diversey – crowding fell 35 percent and wait times decreased 6 percent, as ridership grew 2 percent.
- #134 Stockton/LaSalle Express: 33 percent reduction in crowding and a 12 percent decline in wait times, with a 13 percent increase in ridership.
- #49 Western: crowding fell 37 percent and wait times declined 7 percent amid a slight decline in ridership of 3 percent.
Overall, ridership on the bus routes receiving additional service grew by 1 percent in the quarter, even as bus ridership systemwide fell by 4 percent. The CTA says this is evidence that CTA is "putting service where the demand is highest." The CTA added more than 9,000 bus seats on the 48 routes and reduced wait times by nearly 8 percent.
On the six rail lines with more service, the CTA increased capacity by 12 percent, adding 18 additional trips during the weekday rush periods -- the equivalent of more than 5,800 additional seats during a rush period. Average wait times for trains were reduced by nearly 12 percent.
Crowding on each line declined as follows:
- Blue, 54 percent
- Brown, 61 percent
- Green, 68 percent
- Orange, 55 percent
- Red, 37 percent
- Purple, 21 percent