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Newsroom

Metra ridership increases 1.3 percent

(February 13, 2015) - 

Ridership on Metra climbed 1.3 percent in 2014, to 83.4 million passenger trips – the second-highest annual total in Metra’s 30-year history.

“We are thrilled with the growth in ridership in 2014, and we are committed to drawing even more riders to our system by emphasizing how Metra offers fast, reliable, comfortable and safe service for the six-county Chicago area,” said Metra Executive Director/CEO Don Orseno.

Nine of Metra’s 11 lines saw ridership gains in 2014. The largest percentage increase was on the North Central Service, which jumped 7.9 percent, to 1.8 million trips from 1.7 million trips, while the largest gain in passenger trips was on the Union Pacific Northwest Line, which increased by 429,000 trips, or a 3.8 percent, to 11.6 million from 11.2 million trips.

The BNSF Line remains Metra’s busiest line by far, recording 16.7 million passenger trips, a 0.6 percent increase over the 16.6 million trips provided in 2013. The UP Northwest Line was the second busiest line. The remaining lines are:

  • Metra Electric Line, which had 9.4 million passenger trips in 2014, a drop of 1.5 percent from 9.6 passenger trips in 2013.
  • Union Pacific North Line, which had 9.33 million passenger trips in 2014, an increase of 0.6 percent from 9.27 million passenger trips in 2013.
  • Rock Island Line, which had 8.5 million passenger trips in 2014, a drop of 0.5 percent from 8.6 million passenger trips in 2013.
  • Union Pacific West Line, which had 8.4 million passenger trips in 2014, an increase of 2.1 percent from 8.3 million passenger trips in 2013
  • Milwaukee North Line, which had 7.2 million passenger trips in 2014, an increase of 2.8 percent from 7 million passenger trips in 2013.
  • Milwaukee West Line, which had 6.9 million passenger trips in 2014, an increase of 1.7 percent from 6.8 million passenger trips in 2013.
  • SouthWest Service, which had 2.7 million passenger trips in 2014, an increase of 2 percent from 2.6 million passenger trips in 2013.
  • North Central Service, which had 1.8 million passenger trips in 2014, an increase of 7.9 percent from 1.7 million passenger trips in 2013.
  • Heritage Corridor, which had 729,000 passenger trips in 2014, an increase of 3.6 percent from 703,000 passenger trips in 2013.

It is difficult to assign a single factor to the ridership gains. But some of the factors that likely positively impacted ridership in 2014 were an increase in regional employment, especially in downtown Chicago; an increase in occupancy rates in downtown buildings, due to employment growth as well as office relocations; the cost of operating automobiles in Chicago in time and money; and Metra marketing campaigns and business development.

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