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1/31/2013    



Passenger Rail Article
CTA set ridership records in 2012



Passenger Rail
The Chicago Transit Authority's (CTA) rail ridership reached a 50-year high in 2012, while total annual ridership climbed to its highest mark in the past 22 years, Chicago officials announced yesterday.

Rail ridership increased 4.2 percent to 231 million rides and total CTA ridership rose 2.4 percent to 546 million rides. The high passenger count last year followed a 2.9 percent ridership increase in 2011, making the timeframe "one of the strongest two-year periods" in CTA history, agency and city officials said in a prepared statement.

"As we continue to heavily invest in the transit system as a whole, these trends will continue," said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The Blue and Orange lines posted ridership growth of 6.9 percent and 7.9 percent, respectively, last year.

The ridership gains occurred during CTA's program to replace aging rail cars with its newest generation of cars, the 5000 series. The agency also has an aggressive plan under way to replace or overhaul its entire bus fleet, agency officials said.

"The CTA has more than $4 billion in projects under way or planned that will improve safety, enhance the customer experience and boost overall reliability of the bus and rail system," said CTA President Forrest Claypool.

Upcoming major projects include the $425 million rebuild of the RedLine South branch between 22nd and 95th streets; a $66 million rehabilitation of the elevated Ravenswood Connector between Armitage and the Merchandise Mart; a $203 million rebuild of the Wilson Red Line stop into a modern transfer station; and slow zone remediation work that will eliminate 70 percent of current slow zones by the end of 2015.

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