Annual Regional Ridership Trends

Annual RTA system-wide ridership is shown for each of the past 15 years. Compared to 2003, the region’s ridership has increased 2.1%. However, in 2017, there was a 3.2% drop in ridership compared to 2016, a difference of 19.4 million trips, making 2017 the region’s fifth consecutive year of decreased ridership.

However, in 2017, there was a 3.2% drop in ridership compared to 2016, a difference of 19.4 million trips, making 2017 the region’s fifth consecutive year of decreased ridership.

Back to top

Annual Ridership Change

This chart shows RTA system annual ridership changes by mode for 2017, represented by the blue bars. The orange dot within each bar represents the peer average ridership performance for that mode.

CTA bus ridership is down 3.8% compared to 2016, and rail ridership dropped 3.5%. CTA bus ridership losses were somewhat favorable compared to its peers (with an average loss of 6.6%), while CTA rail ridership losses were about one percentage point unfavorable to the peer average.

Metra ridership was down 1.9%, also one percentage point lower than the peer average.

Pace bus showed a 1.4% ridership increase in 2017, whereas each of its peers reported lower ridership compared to 2016 (for an average 4.2% loss).

Vanpool experienced steeper losses, ending the year 9.6% below 2016, a much steeper decline compared to its peer average of -3.7%.

ADA Paratransit ridership increased by 0.8%, compared to a peer average decrease of 0.7%.

Back to top

Annual Peer Region Ridership

This chart shows year-over-year regional ridership, using the same peer metropolitan areas that we use in the annual Regional Peer Review.

The Chicago region ranks seventh of the ten regions, with a 3.2% ridership decrease.

Back to top

Annual Regional Performance

This chart shows a few of the service and financial measures. Annual performance has some favorable performance for four measures, shown by green arrows, along with two red arrows showing unfavorable performance.

There was an increase in service provided to customers, as shown by the green arrows for vehicle revenue hours and vehicle revenue miles. Each Service Board reported higher vehicle revenue hours in 2017.

Regional operating costs, after being adjusted for inflation, were DOWN 0.5%. Lower operating costs and an increase in vehicle revenue hours produced an operating cost per vehicle revenue hour that was $3.85, or 2.3%, lower compared to 2016.

The operating cost per passenger trip was $4.43, which is 2.8% or $0.12 unfavorable compared to 2016, which directly results from lower ridership.

Fare revenue per passenger trip was up 2.7%, or $0.04, and seems to be a positive result. However, as reported in prior quarterly reports this year, both of the inputs for this measure were unfavorable: fare revenue for the year was down 0.6%, a difference of about $5.5 million. Ridership, as seen on a previous slide, was down 3.2%.

The fare recovery ratio as shown here reflects the ratio of fare revenue to operating expense, without any credits or exclusions. A recovery ratio of 36.4% is 0.7 percentage points lower compared to 2016, resulting from lower fare revenue.

Back to top