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CTA ridership reaches highest level in 22 years

CHICAGO (AP) -- The Chicago Transit Authority says a lot more people are riding the city's buses and trains.

CTA ridership reached its highest level in 22 years in 2012. The CTA says ridership was up 2.4 percent to more than 545 million rides for the year. That's on top of a 2.9 percent increase in ridership in 2011, making it one of the strongest two-year periods in CTA history.

In a news release Wednesday, the CTA says rail ridership last year topped 231 million rides — its highest level in 50 years. And the CTA saw more than 314 million bus rides.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel says public transit plays a vital economic role in the Chicago region and the growth in ridership shows the value of continued investments in the transportation system.