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Denver's RTD, Chicago's Metra posted ridership gains in 2013

The Regional Transportation District of Denver (RTD) and Metra reported ridership increases in 2013.

RTD's ridership climbed 2.5 percent to 101.9 million trips compared with 2012's figure, agency officials said in a press release. In addition, light-rail ridership rose by nearly 15 percent. Ridership systemwide averaged 279,149 boardings per day.

RTD officials attributed the growth to the opening of the West Rail Line in April 2013, which added 3 million passenger trips to ridership totals.

"The opening of the W Line has brought a new form of public transportation to the cities of Denver, Lakewood and Golden, and it's exciting to see that people are responding to the service," said RTD General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Phil Washington.

Meanwhile, Metra's ridership last year rose 1.2 percent to 82.3 million passenger trips compared with 2012. The agency posted ridership gains on eight of its 11 lines, Metra officials said in a press release.

They attributed the gains to job growth in Chicago's central business district, as well as special events.

Metra's busiest route continues to be the BNSF Railway line between Aurora and Chicago Union Station, which registered a 1.2 percent gain last year at 16.6 million trips. The rail line that logged the highest ridership increase in 2013 was the Heritage Corridor, where the number of passenger trips rose 3.1 percent year over year to 703,000.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/26/2014