July 3: No longer biggest CTA rider day?

Over the last few years, July 3 has been just about the busiest single day on the CTA’s calendar. More than a million people would converge on the downtown lakefront for a huge fireworks display and the Taste of Chicago.

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No more.

And I’ll bet the CTA brass is probably just fine with that. The city this year is holding fireworks shows at three different lakefront locations on July 4.

in years past I braved the crowds on July 3. I remember lines snaking up the stairs and down the street at the Jackson Red Line. Waves of crowds swarmed the streets, seemingly just at the edge of lawlessness.

But the CTA raked in the revenue that day. So you have to wonder if this change in plans will affect revenues. Probably not substantially, but it’s got to hurt a bit.

Check out the CTA guide to getting around the fireworks on the North and South sides and Navy Pier. And have a safe and fun Fourth of July. (Chicago Tribune photo)


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  • Altho July 3 did generate a lot of revenue, there was also a lot of overtime expense for extra operators, CA's, supervisors, and security. I wonder whether, on balance, the day was even revenue-positive. Anyhow, most cta funding comes from taxes, not fares, so from a revenue point of view they would be more interested in how Chicago retail sales are going than in how many people are paying full fare to ride.

  • To add to what taxpayer said, with the Tribune article about tourists slowing down boarding, if only 6% of the fares are cash fares, you have to figure that a big amount of the other 94% consists of various passes and Chicago Card Plus, where the number of rides makes no difference.

    It is sort of like a company where I used to work, which would say that "we just sold this division, so our revenue next year will be down." When I asked how they were going to reinvest the proceeds of the sale, the said it was irrelevant, because that division didn't make money.

  • It's important because half of the operating costs must be paid for by fares. It's state law.

  • In reply to ibright05:

    That may or not be true, given how the recovery ratio has been rejiggered, but it can only be loosely said that the number of dollars received is correlated to the marginal number of rides.

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