01/30/2013 04:33 pm ET

CTA Ridership Reaches 22-Year High In 2012

The Chicago Transit Authority announced Wednesday that its 2012 ridership had increased modesty over last year -- and cracked a 22-year high.

The CTA says more than 545 million rides were taken on its buses and trains in 2012 -- an increase of 13 million rides and 2.4 percent over 2011, DNAinfo Chicago reports.

That increase follows another surge in ridership in 2011 -- of 4.05 million rides and 3 percent over the previous year.

Rail ridership alone increased to 231.1 million rides in 2012 -- the highest level the city has seen in five decades, according to WBEZ.

In a statement, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said public transit "plays a vital economic role in the Chicago region, and this historic growth reflects the need for continued investments across the system."

"As we continue to heavily invest in the transit system as a whole, these trends will continue, creating jobs throughout Chicago and improving the prospects of Chicagoans from every neighborhood," the mayor continued.

The Regional Transportation Authority, however, is less confident the surge will continue. Thanks to the CTA pass price increase that went into effect earlier this month, the RTA is anticipating little or no growth in overall CTA ridership in 2013, according to the Chicago Tribune.



CTA 5000-Style Rail Cars