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CHICAGO (CBS) — CTA ridership is now at its highest level since the start of the pandemic.
A big bounceback in downtown ridership is leading the way, with a 21% increase over last year.
Systemwide, average weekday ridership on the CTA has risen above 900,000 for the first time since February 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic prompted stay-at-home orders, forcing many people to work from home, and schools to switch to remote learning.
The CTA said ridership for the week of Sept. 12 was up 10% from one year ago, with a total of more than 5.5 million rides. Bus and rail ridership for that week were up 8% and 13% respectively, compared to the same week last year.
Ridership has grown steadily since January 2022, when the system was averaging 540,000 rides on weekdays, according to the CTA.
So far in September, the CTA has provided approximately 22.3 million rides, compared to 14.3 million for all of January.
The CTA said, in addition to the growing ridership downtown, student ridership across the city is also going up.
The CTA averaged 68,000 daily rides for elementary and high school students during the week of Sept. 12, up 6% from the same week last year. College students enrolled in the CTA’s U-Pass program also saw a 16% increase in ridership over the past year, with average weekday ridership up to 65,000 the week of Sept. 12.