It could've been a lot worse.
That's what Chicago Transit Authority officials are saying about a slight drop in combined bus and rail ridership in 2009.
New figures show passengers took a combined 521 million rides last year. That's down about 5 million rides, or 1 percent, compared to 2008.
CTA President Richard Rodriguez says 2009 ridership numbers are better than expected given the recession. He says the modest decline during hard economic times shows how much people value public transportation.
CTA rail ridership was just over 202 million for 2009, an increase of around 2 percent. Bus ridership in 2009 was about 319 million, a nearly 3 percent decrease.
CTA officials say overall ridership has gone up nearly 12 percent over the past decade.
A number of changes to CTA service are scheduled to begin Feb. 7.