Chicago Transit Authority ridership went up to 530 million boardings last year, reaching its highest ridership level since 1991.
Rail ridership grew by 5.2 percent compared to an increase of 1.4 percent in bus usage. The Blue and Brown Lines saw the greatest share of the increase with nearly 6 million more riders.
“Part of it [the increase] is obviously factors outside our control like rising gas prices,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool. But Claypool also attributes the increase to “improvements we’ve made to provide a safer and more clean and customer friendly experience,” said Claypool.
With increased ridership, Claypool expects there will be a more urgent need for infracstructure improvements. Claypool said there are plans in place to improve stations on the Howard branch of the Red Line and a reconstruction of the tracks along the Dan Ryan Branch. The CTA also plans to begin replacing older series buses this year.
Claypool said the improvements may lead to some delays.
"It may require inconveniences, but in the long run you’ll have faster trains. You’ll have better service overall.” he said.