Metra provided nearly 81.3 million rides in 2012, which is 0.6% favorable to the budgeted forecast of 80.8 million rides. However, when compared to 2011, 2012 experienced a -1.7% decrease in ridership. The year 2012 featured a series of events that impacted commuter rail ridership in the six-county Northeastern Illinois region, including relatively stable gas prices, employment, and office occupancy. Other major factors included the elimination of the Seniors Ride Free Program in late 2011, the NATO Summit activities held between May 18 and May 21, the extreme heat during the summer months, the changes to special event days in Downtown Chicago, the completion of area roadway construction projects, and changes to Metra’s ticket and fare policies. This report identifies the recent trends in commuter rail ridership in the region and the underlying influences behind Metra ridership for 2012.
The 81.3 million passenger trips reported in 2012 was -1.7% lower compared to 2011 and the sixth highest ridership in Metra’s history. Since reaching a low of 56.5 million passenger trips in 1983, the year prior to Metra’s first year of existence, commuter rail ridership has increased by 44%, averaging 1.5% growth per year. The following chart shows annual system ridership (including free rides) from 1983 through 2012.
For the full report including a graphical representation, click here.