Ask CTA

Real questions.
Real riders.
Real answers—directly from the CTA.

We are launching a new video series aimed at answering questions from riders on the system.

The first videos in the series answer questions from bus and rail customers including:

  • What’s being done to improve security?
  • Why do “ghost” buses/trains happen?
  • What is the CTA doing to address homelessness on the system?
  • How did the CTA adopt their color system?
  • Why does bus bunching happen?

Episode 9: “Why was RPM done before other lines?”

There’s a lot of construction happening on the Red and Purple lines as part of the Red Purple Modernization— but what about the other lines? This week’s Ask CTA has the answer.

Episode 8: “How did you come up with the colors?”

Some riders really just want to know why their Green Line train is green and not blue—how did the CTA come up with the colors? This week’s “Ask CTA” is a history lesson brought to you by our resident historian.

Episode 7: “Why is $5 deducted when I use my phone to pay?”

You tapped your phone to pay at the faregate, so why does it look like you have a $5 charge? This week’s “Ask CTA” has the answer to that.

Episode 6: “How frequently do you clean buses?”

Buses leave their garages every day cleaned and ready for service—but often they’re not coming back that way. So what happens and what does CTA do about it? This week’s “Ask CTA” gives a behind-the-garage-doors look at how we get our entire fleet of buses ready for service.

Episode 5: “What’s being done [about] homeless people riding the trains?”

It’s not a crime to be homeless. In the last two years, CTA has committed $2 million annually to fund outreach partner organizations with the goal of helping people sheltering on the CTA get connected with better, safer options.  As a result, many of the people seeking shelter on the CTA have been enrolled in a coordinated entry system for housing, with nearly 50 now in temporary or long-term housing.

Episode 4: “Who’s taking responsibility for cleaning up these platforms?”

CTA’s Vice President of Rail Station Management answers a rider’s question about rail station platform cleaning— and reminds riders to please stop feeding the pigeons!

If you see a cleanliness issue at a station, let the Customer Service Assistant or Customer Service Representative (CSA/CSR) in the booth know. 

With the warmer months now here, CTA has launched seasonal power washing teams to attack grime collected during the winter months. The CTA has a team of more than 60 people ready to address spring cleaning on the system. This separate group of personnel are dispatched during the overnight hours and are tasked with scrubbing and power washing the surfaces of CTA’s stations. 

Each year between the spring and fall seasons, each of CTA’s 145 rail stations is power washed at least once a month as part of routine station cleaning efforts!

Episode 3: “When will RLE be done?”

The Red Line Extension (RLE) will be one of the biggest investments on the Far South Side in decades and is a critical investment for CTA to expand its rapid transit network—and it’s coming soon!

Episode 2: “Why does [bus bunching] happen?”

Sometimes more, isn’t always better. Case in point: You were waiting for a bus, and then TWO show up?

It’s called “bus bunching” and it’s a problem that leads to delays that can be frustrating for riders and snarl service. Our senior manager of traffic planning breaks down some of the things that cause this bunching, and what we are doing keep you from seeing double when you’re waiting for a bus.

Episode 1: “I'm curious about ghost buses/ghost trains”

A CTA rider wants to know about “ghost” buses and trains. CTA’s Manager of External Electronic Communications, Will Anderson, answers what “ghost” buses/trains are, why they happen and what’s being done to fix it.

About the project

Each video includes a transit rider asking their question with a CTA employee in the relevant department providing the answer. All production work – from interviewing, filming, and editing –is performed by CTA personnel, who will continue to head out on the system to capture your questions.

This new series builds on previous customer-education efforts, including “When Things Go Wrong,” a CTA webpage that explains how the agency responds to delays and unplanned disruptions to service. These videos are intended to provide riders an opportunity to learn a little more about the challenges CTA faces, and how they are addressed.

The first “season” in the series will be posted to CTA’s social media accounts, YouTube channel, and right here every Wednesday beginning March 20.

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Red Line
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Blue Line
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Brown Line
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Orange Line
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Pink Line
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Yellow Line
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Bus routes w/alerts
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