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Rail News: Passenger Rail

CTA's rail ridership up in 2010; Amtrak's 1Q ridership soars in Michigan


The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) reported its rail ridership increased 4 percent to 210.8 million rides in 2010, with the largest increases recorded outside morning and evening rush hours.

When combined with bus rides, CTA's total annual ridership dipped slightly by 0.8 percent compared with 2009.

"The fact that CTA has lost very little ground from a ridership standpoint under the most difficult financial circumstances this country has seen in decades is something I feel is a reason to look forward to the new year and hope that the economy continues to rebound, even if at a slow pace," said CTA President Richard Rodriguez in a prepared statement.

During the past decade, CTA's overall ridership grew by 37.3 million rides, or 7.8 percent. Rail ridership has led the surge by increasing 19.6 percent, or by 34.6 million rides, compared with 2000.

Train ridership is up in another Midwest area as well. In Michigan, ridership and revenue soared on the state’s three Amtrak routes during the first quarter of fiscal-year 2011, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).

Overall, the percentage increases were among the best in the nation on Amtrak corridor services, said MDOT officials in a prepared statement.

For the quarter that ended Dec. 31, 130,683 passengers rode Amtrak Wolverine service trains on the Pontiac/Detroit-Chicago corridor, an increase of 22.7 percent from the same period a year earlier. Ticket revenue grew by more than 26 percent to $4.9 million.

Ridership on the Blue Water train on the Port Huron/East Lansing-Chicago route jumped 29.5 percent to 46,272 and ticket revenue increased 25.7 percent to $1.5 million.

Ridership on the Pere Marquette train on the Grand Rapids-Chicago route rose 7.8 percent to 25,916 and ticket revenue climbed 14.1 percent to $801,219.

"The interest and publicity about high-speed rail has ... played a role in the increased growth of train travel in Michigan," said State Transportation Director Kirk Steudle.