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Regional transit ridership reached post-pandemic high in 2023; increases by 16 percent from previous year

January 24, 2024

The Chicago region’s fixed-route transit ridership crossed 300 million for the first time since 2020, ending 2023 at 326.6 million rides. All three service providers, Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra and Pace, continued to see ridership gains

CHICAGO, JAN. 23, 2024 – Ridership across the Chicago region’s transit system continued to increase throughout 2023, according to the latest data from CTA, Metra, and Pace. The region’s fixed route system finished out the year with a total of 326.6 million rides, marking the first time since the pandemic that ridership cracked 300 million. Adding 45 million rides over 2022 represents an increase that is equal to the annual transit ridership of Dallas. 

Transit riders took more rides on all days of the week in 2023 compared to 2022 with Sundays having the largest percentage increase and Wednesdays seeing the most overall rides. Daily ridership exceeded 1 million on 178 days last year, an increase from just 60 days that saw that threshold reached in 2022. RTA’s recently approved 2024 regional transit budget ensures service can meet the growing demand this year.

In 2023, CTA rail provided 117.4 million rides, an increase over 2022 of 13 percent. CTA buses provided 161.7 million rides, a year-over-year increase of 15 percent, bringing overall CTA ridership for 2023 to 279.1 million, a systemwide increase of 14 percent.

Metra saw the largest year-over-year ridership increase at 37 percent, providing more than 32 million rides as it worked toward a new regional rail vision. This vision calls for providing more consistent, predictable service outside of peak work commute times.

In 2023, Pace buses provided 14.8 million rides, an increase over 2022 of 10 percent.

“As riders continue to return to our transit system, we are committed to investing in their experience and building a coalition of transit supporters to avoid the fiscal cliff in 2026,” said RTA Executive Director Leanne Redden. “Additionally, Service Boards’ efforts are clearly paying off as we continue to see significant ridership gains each year since the pandemic hit. We anticipate these gains will continue in 2024, and RTA will continue to collaborate with CTA, Metra, and Pace as they invest in bus and train operators, ramp up cleanliness and safety investments, make fares more seamless and affordable, and other improvements to the rider experience.”

The latest ridership data for all three transit operators is available at the RTA’s State of Transit Dashboard.

Press Information

Melissa Meyer

Communications Manager
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