As the private sector job market continues to improve and developers continue to build new apartments and condos near public transportation hubs, more and more Chicagoans are relying on public transit for their daily transportation needs. According to new numbers from the CTA, more than 241 million rail trips were made last year, setting a new record for rail ridership. In total, the CTA saw over 515 million trips made throughout its bus and rail system last year. The agency says that 2015 marks the eighth straight year that the CTA has witnessed more than 500 million trips. This certainly speaks a lot to the changing commuting habits of city residents.
Beyond record ridership numbers, the CTA had other reasons to celebrate 2015. The CTA welcomed the new Cermak-McCormick Place station along the Green Line last year, connecting the country's largest convention center to the city's public transportation system. The CTA also launched its Loop Link express bus service in the Loop. The express bus program is used by 1,000 CTA buses operating across six different routes during a typical weekday. In addition, the CTA completed updates to its cellular network and now offers 4G data speeds throughout its entire subway system.
According to the CTA's latest report, rail ridership increased noticeably on the Green, Blue and Red lines. The CTA attributes the Green Line's increase to the new McCormick Place station, which witnessed 390,000 entries last year. Ridership along the Blue Line also grew considerably, which is certainly no surprise when taking into account the popularity of neighborhoods that fall along the line. According to the report, the O'Hare branch saw a 5.3% gain. More Chicagoans are taking the Red Line as well, with that line witnessing a increase of 4.3% over last year.