RTA Regional Ridership Trends

CHART 1 Q2 REGIONAL RIDERSHIP TRENDS

 

Using data from the National Transit Database (NTD), we can see regional ridership results for January – June over a 15-year period. 

2018 had the lowest first-half ridership of the 15 years shown, totaling 281.7 million trips, which was 0.7% lower compared to the first half of 2004.

Compared to the first half of last year (2017), ridership for the first half of 2018 was 3.1% lower, a difference of 9.1 million trips. 

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2nd Quarter Ridership Change (RTA System Ridership by Mode)

CHART 2 Q2 RTA SYSTEM RIDERSHIP BY MODE

This chart shows RTA system first half 2018 ridership 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 four of six modes.

Compared to 2017, CTA bus ridership is down 3.4%, and CTA rail ridership is down 2.9%. 

Each bus peer agency reported ridership losses for first half of 2018, and for the heavy rail mode, only SEPTA saw an increase, aided by their Super Bowl parade attendance, some mode shift from their bus service, and the elimination of premium route fares.

Metra ridership was down 3.2%, about 2½ percentage points lower than the peer average.

Pace bus showed a 3.5% ridership decrease from first half 2017, which was about half a percentage point worse compared to its peers.  

Vanpool experienced a ridership gain of 2.5%, whereas its peer average loss was 5.4%. 

ADA Paratransit ridership increased by 0.9%, compared to a peer average decrease of 1.7%.

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2nd Quarter Peer Region Ridership

CHART 3 Q2 PEER REGION RIDERSHIP

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

Each region recorded ridership losses.

The Chicago region ranks second of the ten regions, with a 3.1% ridership decrease versus the average regional peer ridership loss of 5.7%.

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2nd Quarter Regional Performance

CHART 4 Q2 REGIONAL PERFORMANCE

On this chart we are looking at a few service and financial measures.  Year-to-date performance has some favorable performance for two measures, shown by green arrows… with one red arrow showing unfavorable performance.

The three black arrows -- shown for vehicle revenue hours, vehicle revenue miles, and operating cost per vehicle revenue hour -- indicate performance roughly equal to the prior year.

Regional operating costs, after being adjusted for inflation, decreased 1.4%.  However, ridership was 3.1% lower compared to 2017.  The resulting operating cost per passenger trip of $4.71 was 8 cents higher, an unfavorable difference of 1.8%.

Following fare increases at all three Service Boards in the first quarter, each reported improved fare revenues.  Region-wide, the fare revenue per passenger trip, or average fare, was $1.74, which was 12 cents higher, a 7.4% improvement, over the first half of 2017. 

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 36.3% is 1.2 percentage points higher compared to 2017, primarily due to the improvement in fare revenue.

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