Updated in February 2024
December ridership of 42.7 million was at 61.1% of pre-COVID levels, while year‐to‐date system ridership through December was 4.6% above budget, with 331.0 million rides provided, approximately 59% of pre-pandemic ridership. In turn, total system‐generated revenue was $32.7 million or 5.0% favorable to budget, as CTA, Pace Suburban Service, and ADA Paratransit each reported positive results. Service Board expense results continue to be significantly under budget, driven primarily by unfilled positions as the Service Boards continue their efforts to restore full staffing levels. Regional operating expenses were $231.0 million or 6.9% favorable to budget. The overall strong expense performance combined with favorable operating revenue resulted in favorable to budget operating deficits for each Service Board and ADA Paratransit, with the combined regional operating deficit $264 million or 9.8% favorable. Accordingly, staff recommends a finding of in substantial accordance with budget through the fourth quarter for each mainline Service Board, ADA Paratransit, and the Region as a whole.
Total public funding through December was 2.1% favorable to budget. Actual sales tax collections through October continued to show strength but were partially offset by weak Real Estate Transfer Tax results at CTA and lower than anticipated federal operating grants at Pace. Preliminary November sales tax results indicate continued growth at around 5% higher than the prior year. The region has drawn down about 56% of the total federal relief funding, and $336.7 million less than was budgeted for 2023 due to the combined impact of favorable operating deficits and strong sales tax and PTF results.
The system‐wide net result was $30.8 million unfavorable to budget through the fourth quarter due solely to a lag in the requisitioning of federal relief funding. Also due to the lower than anticipated relief funding drawdowns, the year‐to‐date regional recovery ratio of 40.3% was 5.5 percentage points below the adopted budget.