Discussion related to commuter rail and rapid transit operations in the Chicago area including the South Shore Line, Metra Rail, and Chicago Transit Authority.

Moderators: metraRI, JamesT4

  by MetraBNSF
 
Feb. 16, 2007
By Lorene Yue

Metra tallies record number of riders in 2006

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/ ... 6&id=23914

(Crain’s) — Metra riders logged a record number of trips last year as the commuter rail service expanded its reach and Chicago-area employment rates returned to pre-Sept. 11 levels.

Metra officials said nearly 80 million trips were made in 2006 within the six-county region, topping the previous record set in 2001 of 78.3 million.

More people rode Metra last year than any other year since the commuter rail service was formed in 1983, officials said.

The number of rides last year was 5.2% higher than in 2005, Metra officials said, adding rides were based on ticket sales.

“Metra provides a critical service to residents and workers in Northeastern Illinois that is vital to our economy and quality of life,” Philip Pagano, Metra’s executive director, said in a statement. “This surge in ridership highlights the need to continue to maintain and expand our commuter rail system.”

An additional 4.4 million trips were made on the South Shore Line, which runs between Chicago and South Bend, Ind.

Nine new stations, expanded schedules, employment levels and the cost of gas were contributors to the higher ridership, officials said.

The expanded SouthWest and North Central service lines saw the largest percentage increases.

Ridership on the SouthWest Service line between Chicago Union Station and Manhattan rose 17% while the North Central Service route between Antioch and Chicago Union Station gained 19% more riders.

The BNSF Railway between Aurora and Chicago Union Station is the busiest route with 15.8 million trips made last year. That is a 2.7% increase from the previous year, Metra officials said.
  by doepack
 
Crain's Chicago Business wrote:Ridership on the SouthWest Service line between Chicago Union Station and Manhattan rose 17%...
If that 17% figure is true, then that brings SWS's daily ridership figure closer to 10,000. When (or if) the budget allows for more trains, this has to make them think about eventually adding a 1530 CUS departure. I don't see how Metra can continue to ignore this, especially since the numbers would seem to support it...

  by metraRI
 
This is a press release Metra released last week:
Metra saw record ridership in 2006

Chicago, Feb. 16, 2007 - Metra trains provided nearly 80 million passenger trips last year to commuters in the six-county region, the most annual riders in the agency's 23-year history. The 79.9 million passenger trips represent the highest number of rides provided by commuter rail in Northeastern Illinois in 38 years.

The figures, based on tickets sales, were presented Friday to the Metra board of directors. Add in numbers from the South Shore Line, which runs between Chicago and South Bend, Ind., and the region's commuter rail services provided a record 84.3 million rides in 2006. That beats the previous Metra-South Shore record set in 2001 by nearly 2 percent.

"Metra provides a critical service to residents and workers in Northeastern Illinois that is vital to our economy and quality of life," said Philip A. Pagano, Metra Executive Director. "This surge in ridership highlights the need to continue to maintain and expand our commuter rail system."

Since dipping to 58.9 million passenger trips in 1983, when Metra was formed, the number of commuter rail riders in the region has jumped 43 percent. Compared to 2005, Metra saw an increase of 5.2 percent.

The 2006 ridership increase can be attributed to a host of factors, including several expanded schedules and nine new stations that debuted last year. Two other chief influences were the still-rising costs of gasoline and a rebound of employment rates to pre-Sept. 11 levels.

While Metra's recently expanded lines saw the greatest percentage increases, gains were seen across the system. The busiest route continues to be the BNSF Railway, between Aurora and Chicago Union Station, which saw 15.8 million trips in 2006. Ridership on the BNSF rose 2.7 percent compared to last year.

The two largest gains were on the SouthWest Service between Chicago Union Station and Manhattan, and on the North Central Service between Antioch and Chicago Union Station. The NCS jumped 19 percent over last year providing 1.2 million rides while the SWS went up 17 percent providing 2.1 million rides.

Metra operates commuter rail service on 11 lines to 239 stations covering 565 miles of territory.