Brown Line train at Belmont

Service challenges posed by the pandemic

COVID-19 impacts on the CTA workforce may occasionally lead to longer wait times for buses and trains

Since the start of the pandemic nearly two years ago, we've worked tirelessly to provide the essential transit service that the region relies on. When Chicago needed us the most, we were there, providing as much service as possible.

However, like every U.S. transit agency, the pandemic has impacted our agency. We have employees who are unable to come to work because of quarantining due to COVID-19.

Whenever an employee must call off work due to illness or self-quarantining, it can temporarily affect the schedule of buses and trains where some scheduled trips may not occur – meaning there may be longer wait times for a bus or train.

When unplanned absences like that occur, we work to put other operators and staff in place to minimize the impact on service. But even one missed train or bus run can create a gap in service, and thus a longer wait time for customers at a station or bus stop.

Adding to that challenge: Like many other businesses, the transportation industry is facing an unprecedented workforce shortage. This workforce shortage is impacting CTA, and we are actively recruiting workers to fill existing vacant positions. We are strongly marketing employment opportunities, hosting virtual and in-person job fairs, while also advertising the benefits of being a CTA employee: good pay, excellent benefits, and paid training for new recruits. While this has attracted interested job-seekers, it takes time to fully train new employees on the safe operations of our trains and buses.

CTA will continue to communicate service updates to our customers. We apologize for any longer than expected wait times and other challenges customers may experience and appreciate your patience as we respond to the evolving workforce challenges.

We take our role as an essential-service provider seriously, and we will continue to provide as much bus and train service as possible for the City and the region.