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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

CTA to focus on capital projects to increase 2004 ridership

In 2003, Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) reported a 2.8 percent ridership decline compared with 2002 — the authority’s first decrease in six years. The downward trend continued in January, as CTA recorded a 3.3 percent ridership drop hampered by the weak economy and a fare increase.

But for the remainder of the year, the authority plans to focus on improving service and facilities to reverse the trend.

"Although the stagnant economy has contributed to the lag in ridership, we have not been waiting for the economy to rebound to address this issue," said CTA President Frank Kruesi in a prepared statement. "We have been working hard to better match service with customer demand."

In January, the authority introduced the Chicago Card Plus™, an electronic farecard that enables passengers to manage accounts online.

And CTA continues to rehabilitate the Cermak branch of the Blue Line, it’s largest-ever capital improvement project. Later this year, the authority also plans to rehabilitate the Dan Ryan branch of the Red Line, expand capacity on the Brown Line and convert catenary power to third-rail power on the Yellow Line.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/15/2004