RTA Regional Ridership Trends
Using data from the National Transit Database (NTD), we can see regional ridership results for January through September for each year over a 15-year period.
Cumulative ridership through the third quarter for 2018 was the lowest ridership of the 15 years shown. The 428.6 million trips taken was 0.5% lower compared to 2004, a difference of 2.2 million trips.
Compared to 2017, ridership through the third quarter of 2018 was 2.9% lower, a difference of 12.7 million trips.
3rd Quarter Ridership Change (RTA System Ridership by Mode)
This chart shows RTA system ridership through September 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 of six modes.
Compared to 2017, CTA bus ridership is down 3.3%, and CTA rail ridership is down 2.4%. Both of these results are favorable to second quarter results.
Each bus peer agency reported ridership losses through September 2018, and for the heavy rail mode, only one agency (SEPTA) saw an increase.
Metra ridership was down 3.2%, about 2 percentage points lower than the peer average.
Pace bus showed a 3.7% ridership decrease compared to 2017, which was about two percentage points worse compared to its peers.
Vanpool experienced a ridership gain of 1.9%, whereas its peer average loss was 4.6%.
ADA Paratransit ridership decreased by 0.6%, compared to a peer average decrease of 2.0%.
3rd Quarter Peer Region Ridership
This chart shows year-over-year regional ridership through September, 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 2.9% ridership decrease versus the average regional peer ridership loss of 3.8%.
3rd Quarter Regional Performance