RTA Regional Ridership Trends
Using data from the National Transit Database (NTD), we can see regional ridership results for each year over a 15-year period.
Annual ridership for 2018 was the lowest ridership of the 15 years shown. The 570.8 million trips taken was 0.9% lower compared to 2004, a difference of 5.4 million trips.
Compared to 2017, ridership for 2018 was 2.5% lower, a difference of 14.7 million trips.
2018 Modal Ridership vs Peers
This chart shows RTA system ridership for 2018 by mode, represented by the blue bars. The orange dot within each bar represents the peer average ridership performance for that mode. Our Service Boards’ performance was favorable to peer averages for three modes, and unfavorable to peers for three modes.
Compared to 2017, CTA bus ridership is down 3.8%, and CTA rail ridership is down 3.5%.
Each bus peer agency reported ridership losses for 2018, and for the heavy rail mode, only one peer agency (NYCT) saw a slight increase.
Metra ridership was down 1.9%, about 1 percentage point lower than the peer average.
Pace bus showed a 1.4% ridership increase compared to 2017, while each of its peers reported ridership losses averaging 4.2%.
Vanpool experienced a ridership loss of 9.6%, whereas its peer average loss was 3.7%.
ADA Paratransit ridership increased by 0.8%, compared to a peer average decrease of 0.7%.
2018 Peer Region Ridership
This chart shows year-over-year regional ridership, using the same peer metropolitan areas that we use in our annual Peer Review.
Each region except Houston recorded ridership losses.
The Chicago region ranks fourth of the ten regions, with a 2.5% ridership decrease versus the average regional peer ridership loss of 3.3%.
Annual Regional Performance