CTA announces initiative to reduce crowding, improve service
In a major initiative to reduce uncomfortable crowding and meet growing ridership, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is adding bus and train service to high-demand routes across the entire CTA network. The additions to service will reduce the time between trains and buses and lower peak crowd loads by 10 to 15 percent in most cases. Through the first half of 2012, CTA’s ridership growth was higher than nearly every other major U.S. transit system. The rail ridership increase was especially high at 6.2 percent—placing CTA’s growth second among major U.S. transit agencies. Bus ridership also showed a jump of more than 3.9 million riders, up 2.6 percent for the year.
Working in concert with Northwestern University’s Transportation Center (NUTC), the CTA has developed a plan to restructure its routes and schedules based on changing ridership patterns. In addition, the CTA has proposed discontinuing a small number of routes that duplicate existing service or that have extremely low ridership. It is adding service to some areas and beefing up service where demand has outstripped the traditional allocation of buses and trains. The result is the equivalent of $16 million in added service at no cost whatsoever to taxpayers.
“The CTA’s goal is to provide a comfortable and efficient experience for customers, as well as accommodate growing ridership, which has risen for 16 consecutive months, adding 22 million new riders since June of 2011,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool. “This route restructuring, based on comprehensive review of the entire transit system, is long overdue and is the first system-wide, holistic review of CTA’s bus and rail service in 15 years. Through the strategic restructuring effort, CTA will realize $16 million of savings – all of which will be reinvested into the additional service on the highest-demand and most-crowded routes.”