CTA rides numbers game: Ridership up slightly overall, but rail rides rule

After the first four months of 2011, CTA ridership has increased slightly over the same period of 2010, with rail riders accounting for the increase.

Ridership through April was 169 million, almost 1 million rides better than last year, according to the April financial report. Rail ridership rose by 2.7 million rides, while bus rides dropped 1.9 million through April.

Average weekday ridership rose by almost 1% compared to last year, while average Saturday ridership dropped by 0.15%. Sunday riders increased the most this year – almost 2.5%.

So what does it all mean? I’ll take a stab, and of course this is just a guess.

The economy is a little better than last year, with more people working, and thus getting to work via the CTA during the week. Not sure what to make of the Saturday and Sunday numbers. Are people staying home Saturday to do chores? And then getting out of the house on Sunday to go to the movies, see friends, go to church?

As for bus vs. rail numbers, it appears the 18% cut in bus service effective in early February 2010 is still haunting the CTA. I really would have thought the bus ride numbers would have stabilized by now.


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  • On the other hand, you missed that Walker's report, FWIW, also says:

    "Ridership for the month of April was 43.6 million and was 1.5 million less than budget and was 0.1 million less than prior year."

    So, if you are going to take a stab at that, you have to take that departure from the 4 month trend into account.

    Based on what's gone on both in the system and at downtown destinations, including mobs taking stabs, I'll take a stab that June will be real down year to year.

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack, I try to take the longer view rather than look at month-to-month. But you certainly may be right that by the time Q2 is over, ridership will be down after all these assaults in the news.

  • In reply to jack:

    This off topic.I contacted CLEARPATH at the Chicago Police Department since many people on this blog were suggesting that there should be a way to text in crimes in progress.It seems that if you have certain provider's cell phones you can text" CRIMES" as the phone number.Put Cpd on the first line so the message is properly routed and include as much information as possible.
    Kevin,maybe you could interview somebody from CLEARPATH to get a more accurate explanation than I can give.

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