Clean Transport

Published on February 19th, 2016 | by James Ayre


Chicago Transit Authority Reports Record Number Of Rail Passengers In 2015

February 19th, 2016 by  

The Chicago Transit Authority had a record year in 2015 as far as rail transportation goes, with more than 241 million rail passengers being reported for the year, according to recent reports.

Interestingly, despite the record year for rail travel in the Chicago Transit Authority’s territory, bus ridership actually fell notably — by around 1.8 million rides, to around 272.5 million rides total. Rail ridership increased by around 3.5 million rides as compared to 2014.

Chicago L train transit

Taken together, 2015 was then, clearly, a growth year for the Chicago Transit Authority (as compared to 2014), despite the drop in bus ridership. Note: The drop in bus ridership was, according to transit officials, partly the result of the February 2015 blizzard — which was accompanied by regionally low temperatures as part of an “arctic blast.”

The Chicago Tribune provides more specifics:

Among rail stations, the Red Line saw the largest number of rides in 2015, with 78.8 million, and the Blue Line came in second with 46.8 million rides, according to data released by CTA officials. Overall ridership for the Brown Line dipped 2.9% since 2014.

Ridership increased most at the Loop’s Randolph/Wabash and Adams/Wabash stations, up 32.7% and 30.8% since 2014, respectively, in part due to the closure of the Madison/Wabash station, officials said. There was also a spike in rides at the Blue Line’s California, Damen and O’Hare stations, up 22.5%, 20.3% and 15.3% since 2014.

Bus lines with the greatest number of rides included the Ashland, 79th, Western, Chicago and Belmont lines, which all had at least 7 million rides each. The Soldier Field Express and Pullman Shuttle lines saw the greatest increases since 2014, and were up 44.8% and 22.3% in ridership, respectively. Ridership for the Goose Island Express line dropped 20%, while the number of rides on the North Central line dropped 17.8%, according to ridership data.

The city has been putting substantial amounts of money into its transportation network in recent years — with more than $5 billion having been spent on planned and completed projects since 2011. The new figures show that this investment has been paying off somewhat.

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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.

  • The problem for buses is that the arterial streets that they run on have been ruined by car congestion. This is one area where a switch to EVs will not help. However, what will help is a switch to Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on dedicated lanes. Chicago has some BRTish pilot projects in BETA testing now (Jeffrey Jump and the Loop Link). I say BRTish because neither are real BRT but simply regular bus routes with some BRT features.

    In the proposal stage is a real BRT on Ashland Avenue. BRT has the potential to turn those bus numbers around. That is, of course, until their numbers get taken away from bus and put into a “Rapid Transit” category with the rail. Then the bus numbers will really drop.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Autonomous cars should help. We could get parking removed from crowded areas. Cars could take themselves off to a nearby parking facility and charge up while parked.

      • Yes they could help. But at the same time they could make things worse as some people are lured off the buses to ACs.

  • Mike333

    If only there was something we could do to lower our Corporate drain on the US taxpayers.

  • Mike333

    Kochs to spend millions attacking EV’s.
    If only there was something we could do to BOYCOTT oil and coal…

    • neroden

      Working on it.
      — get rid of gas cars; walk, bicycle, take the train or bus, or buy an electric car;
      — get rid of fuel-burning appliances; electric dryer, electric oven, electric heat-pump for home heating and cooling, etc;
      — insulate your house to stop the waste and make it possible to heat your house with electric;
      — buy 100% renewable electricity if that’s an option, or put up your own solar panels and batteries if you can…

      It’s difficult but I’m working on it, and You Can Too

      • Global Citizen

        Use more warm clothes than electric / fuel / gas / wood based heating.

  • Dan

    Neato! I would love to see improvements in Chicago CTA. The metra in/out of the city is $8 for a weekend pass and I never go downtown during the weekdays. It has been a long time since I’ve ridden the L in Chi and I’ve never riden the bus. Millennium Park is easy to walk to from Oglivie and Union Station but the museums, like the Museum of Science and Industry or the Art Institute, are too far for a walk for most people. I’ve only driven to Chicago for those.

    I’ve riden the L to the Belmont neighborhood for the punky shops and the nearby Chicago Diner, a great vegan restaurant. This article is making me want to learn to use the CTA better. I’ve gotten a ticket for parking illegally by accident while attending a concert. The show rocked but the ticket didn’t… we may have been out later than public transport would’ve helped us… probably after 12 or 1 AM possibly

    How late does public transportation run in other places of the world?

  • newnodm

    Well O.K.
    Any Cubs news?
    Sous Vide recipes?

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