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Free transfer boosts station ridership

After eliminating the charge to transfer to the Red Line in the Loop pedway, the CTA is seeing increased ridership at the Washington station.

The Blue Line stop saw a 13 percent jump in ridership, from 2.8 million entries in 2012 to nearly 3.2 million entries last year, according to a CTA report posted online this week. It was one of the highest jumps in station ridership last year amid a 1 percent decrease in rail ridership systemwide, CTA data show.

In May, the CTA eliminated the 25-cent standard transfer fee to travel between the Washington and Lake Red Line stops. Riders used to travel to the Jackson stations to transfer for free between the Red and Blue lines.

The change was made to coincide with the southern Red Line reconstruction project, when the CTA shuttered nine Red Line stations and accompanying track.

CTA President Forrest Claypool also found the transfer fee to be an "inconvenience" for riders, the CTA said said at the time.

"We think the free transfer point is increasing ridership at those stations," CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said. The Lake Red Line stop saw a 0.7 percent increase in ridership compared to 2012.

Meanwhile, the Jackson Red Line stop saw a 6.1 percent decrease in ridership while the Jackson Blue Line station saw a 1.7 percent bump.

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