A Chicago Transit Authority spokesman says Northwestern University’s deal with the agency to pay for free rides on the Route 201 bus for NU students and staff has led to a 19 percent increase in ridership on the route.

The agreement also took the school’s Ryan Field shuttle bus off the road, reducing traffic congestion and air pollution.

And, the CTA’s Jeffrey Tolman told the Daily Northwestern, the increase for the CTA has amounted to about 10,000 new rides a month. That’s more than three times the number of riders a school official said were taking NU’s shuttle bus.

The 201 bus offers longer service hours than the shuttle did and also runs to the Westfield Old Orchard shopping center in Skokie and the Howard Street CTA elevated station.

Related story

NU, CTA set free ride deal on 201 bus (7/15/15)

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