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Chicago Transit Authority Ridership Reached 20-Year High In 2011

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The Chicago Transit Authority on Tuesday announced that its annual ridership in 2011 was up 3 percent over the previous year -- the largest one-year bump in bus and train ridership in two decades.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the agency recorded more than 530 million rides in 2011 and that train ridership was up just more than 5 percent, boosted by big increases on the Blue and Brown Lines. Bus ridership increased just 1.4 percent.

"The growth in 2011 ridership shows that the CTA is an increasingly integral part people’s daily lives and emphasizes that there is a real and growing demand for public transit in the city and the suburbs," Forrest Claypool, CTA president, said in a statement announcing the ridership report.

The CTA cites its station renewal program, new train tracker, LED bus tracker signs at certain stops as well as increased security cameras and patrolling police officers as contributors to the bump in ridership. The agency added that it has further improvements planned in an aim to continue the upward ridership trend, including work on seven deteriorating Red Line stations and the elimination of slow zones throughout its rail system.

Nationally, the American Public Transportation Association reported a 2.3 percent transit system ridership increase last week, but the CTA's numbers trump that number, according to the Chicago Tribune.

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