CTA budget in decent shape, but ridership starting to slip

Here’s another in the continuing series where I read and summarize board reports so you don’t have to.

At the halfway point through the year, the CTA is reporting that total revenue exceeds budget by about $6 million, while total expenses are about $30 million less than budgeted. That’s after some belt-tightening, layoffs, and furloughs, among other cuts.

This post details some of those cuts. CTA President Richard Rodriguez also told the board that he saved $3 million by:

  • Deferring budgeted merit increases of abot 3% for non-union employees.
  • Taking away from upper management pay for the remaining standard holidays.
  • Forcing vice presidents and above to take three unpaid furlough days this year.  

Ridership report. Overall ridership systemwide is up a scant 0.4% through July, compared to the same time frame last year. Bus ridership is down 3 millions rides this year, or about 1.6% down compared to last year. But rail rides increased about 3.7%, up 4.1 million.

Form the report:

“An analysis of July ridership shows that weekday rush period ridership is down on both bus and rail; however, weekday off-peak ridership has increased on the rail system. Weekend ridership on the rail system has also increased.” 


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  • Could it be because less people have jobs to commute to? I did notice that weekend ridership is also still up. It seems that it's just rush hour that is down.

  • In reply to michaelk:

    That's what I suspected too when I saw the figures. Fewer jobs overall, and it wouldn't surprise me if job losses in the city were heavier than in the suburbs.

  • In reply to michaelk:

    My explanation is fewer jobs downtown to cause the decreased weekday rush period ridership, and more people taking the train rather than a cab on the weekend because they are either out of a job or are cutting back and don't want to pay cab fare. Also, the parking meter situation is probably playing into that.

  • Actually, I don't think, I'm just guessing. As it isn't stated as a finding. Nor is it mentioned in the article. So yeah, I obviously DO think. I wrote it. Who put you on the horse?

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