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.
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.