Customers on platform with Pink Line train

Coronavirus: Operations

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we've implemented several new measures to our daily operations as part of our ongoing commitment to provide safe, healthy and reliable commute. 

On this page:

NOTE: Unless otherwise noted, the following measures are currently in effect until further notice.

Vehicle air circulation/ventilation


CTA employee replacing one the HVAC/air filters on a railcar .

We have put in place many measures to mitigate the risk of indoor transmission of coronavirus. One area of focus is optimal air circulation and ventilation on board trains and buses.

The ventilation systems on our vehicles use a mixture of fresh air brought in by the frequent opening of the passenger doors, along with recirculated air that is filtered before being pushed back through the ventilation system ducts.

What this means is that the full volume of air within a CTA railcar is filtered by the ventilation system more than once per minute. The full volume of air within a standard, 40-foot bus is filtered at least 50 times per hour, and at least 70 times an hour on a 60-foot, articulated bus.  Filters on our vehicles are replaced approximately every two weeks.

We have also implemented other strategies to help fight the virus, including strengthened cleaning and disinfection of surfaces; extensive signage and promotion of social distancing and the required use of masks while on our properties; the availability of free masks on all buses and at all rail stations; and distribution of thousands of free Travel Healthy Kits, which contain a reusable cloth mask, 2 oz. bottle of hand sanitizer and healthy travel tips, etc.

We remain committed to seeking out the latest technologies, methods and industry best practices to provide an even safer and cleaner travel environment for everyone. This includes researching new technologies and measures to help further improve air filtration and circulation across our bus and rail fleets.

Vehicle capacity limits

Effective June 11, with the City of Chicago's entry into the fifth and final phase of Mayor Lightfoot's "Open Chicago" initiative, we have removed the capacity restrictions on all our buses and trains.  Now, all vehicles will be able to run at full capacity.

We originally enacted limited capacity and social distancing policies during the pandemic. However, we were also the only major transit agency in the country to run at full service, in order to provide safe travel for essential workers and other riders making essential trips.

Service monitoring

We continue to closely monitor ridership levels to identify areas where additional resources can be deployed to meet service demands. Management has been deployed to keep an eye on key locations with higher bus boardings and make adjustments as necessary. For routes where we’re made aware of or seeing higher ridership levels we are either deploying our longer, 60-foot buses or staging extra buses along the route so they can be quickly added into service.