CTA customers at the Roosevelt elevated station wearing masks and maintaining distance.

Coronavirus Info (COVID-19)



Seal of APTA Health & Safety Committments Program

CTA has earned the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Health & Safety Commitment seal—recognizing our efforts of fulfilling the highest industry commitments for keeping transit safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.   
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Returning to CTA: What you should know

As we've done since day one of the pandemic, we're working tirelessly to provide the healthiest, most comfortable environment for customers. We're also continuing to provide as much bus and rail service possible.

But now more than ever, we're also looking to you, our customers, to be partners in this effort. The same rules that people have exercised at grocery stores, food pickup, retail stores and other public spaces also apply to public transit. We're asking and encouraging everyone to follow the common-sense practices we’ve all learned in recent months, which are critical to making continued progress in the reopening of the city: 

  • Social distancing,
  • Wearing masks,
  • Washing/sanitizing hands,
  • Not boarding crowded trains and buses, and
  • Being mindful and respectful of fellow customers. 

We're here for your essential travel

While Phase 4 provides more opportunity for travel, it's important to be thoughtful about travel choices. We're all in this together, and our bus and rail services need to remain a safe and reliable option for our essential workers, those with essential needs and riders with limited travel options. We encourage you to consider other transportation options for non-essential travel, especially shorter distances, and for travel that is easily accessible by other mobility options.  

Social distancing and cleaning

We're committed to providing the cleanest, most comfortable environment possible, and we’ve employed multiple strategies to protect you and our employees during this time. Similar to others in the transportation industry, such as airlines and other transit providers, our unique and complex operations require specific guidance and rely on riders to be partners in this work.  

We're also focused on educating and encouraging everyone to contribute to a healthy environment and to comply with the guidance from health experts about wearing masks in public and practicing social distancing. 

Promoting social distancing

In conjunction with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), we've established a passenger capacity limit on buses and rail cars that will allow social distancing to continue in a reasonable manner across our system.  After reviewing vehicle layouts and factoring in other variables --such as, all passengers wearing masks, doors continuously opening and closing, the limited amount of time passengers spend on vehicles, and encouragement of staggered seating throughout the vehicle --our vehicle passenger standards are now approximately 20 riders on standard 40-foot buses and approximately 30 riders on 60-foot articulated buses and each train car.* 

You are encouraged to follow the capacity limits when traveling the system and to make smart choices about how and when to travel.  

While we will continue to promote and encourage prudent behaviors, there is a level of personal accountability and common-sense behavior that will be required on the part of you and other customers.

Along with establishing passenger limits, we've also taken the following steps in partnership with our customers to support social distancing: 

  • Running as much service as possible continuously through pandemic and all re-opening phases
  • Bus Crowding Management –limiting the number of riders on buses
  • Adding extra buses to address occasional crowding on routes like the #79 79th and #4 Cottage Grove
  • Signage on all vehicles and stations, to promote social distancing and wearing masks
  • Real-time camera crowd monitoring at high-ridership stations. Employees will make announcements, asking customers to spread out or wait for next train when the one at the station is too crowded
  • Decals on station floors guiding riders on where to stand and how to keep distance

* Effective March 28, 2021

Rigorous cleaning

We have one of the most rigorous cleaning regimens of any U.S. transit agency:

  • Cleaning BEFORE service: Every rail car and bus is cleaned before it leaves for daily service—this includes wiping down seats, stanchions, grab handles and surfaces with disinfectant, as well as sweeping and trash removal.
  • Cleaning WHILE IN service: Workers disinfect the high-touch surfaces of rail cars at all terminals after they finish a run and before they turn around for another run. Workers have also been stationed at the Navy Pier, Jefferson Park, Howard, Midway and 95th/Dan Ryan bus terminals to clean high-touch surfaces of buses serving more than 40 different routes.
  • Routine deep cleans: In addition to the daily cleanings, all vehicles undergo a routine "deep clean", which entails intensive cleanings of the interior surfaces from the top of windows to the floor. Each night of the week, approx. 300 vehicles -- 150 rail cars and 150 buses -- are deep cleaned.  As part of this process, crews use a 3-in-1 product that cleans, disinfects and deodorizes all surfaces of the vehicles.
  • Electrostatic sprayers for deeper cleans: New eMist devices apply cleaning solution as a mist, providing for more thorough coverage. Machines will supplement our existing deep-cleaning measures and allow us to clean vehicles more efficiently and thoroughly
  • Anti-microbial surface coating: Currently testing new products on the interior of our vehicles that prevent certain materials (e.g. bacteria, viruses, liquids, etc.) from sticking to treated surfaces for an extended period of time.
  • Mobile cleaning SWAT teams: Ten 4-5 member mobile teams are being deployed across the system to power wash our stations each night.


For quick, easy-to-follow guidelines on returning to CTA and what you need to know, please see our Customer Guide (.pdf)