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CTA sees ridership decline for 3rd straight month

CTA ridership was down 3.1 percent in February compared to February 2012, marking the third straight month of declining CTA ridership.

Bus ridership dropped 4.9 percent in February while rail ridership saw a 0.6 percent dip, according to a ridership report posted this week to transitchicago.com.

The CTA said the weather was worse in February than in February 2012, which saw "exceptional, above average growth" in part because of unseasonably warm weather.

The agency said riders tend to use the system more in better weather. CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said the CTA saw "incredible growth years" in 2012 and 2011 and predicted a slowdown in 2013.

CTA ridership was up 2.4 percent in 2012 compared to 2011.

"Ridership is not just going to keep going up every month," Chase said. "On top of that, January and February are being compared against the same months the prior year, which had huge growth -- that set the bar pretty high -- due to unseasonably warm weather that year."

System ridership was down 1.9 percent in January compared to January 2012 and down 1.8 percent in December compared to December 2011.

In January, the agency raised the price of unlimited passes including the 30-day pass, which increased from $86 to $100.

In December, the CTA implemented its crowding reduction plan, which included cutting more than a dozen full or partial bus routes and adding service to 48 bus routes and all but two rail lines.

The CTA has said that these changes are not related to ridership declines.

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