CTA Continued Historic Investment, Service Improvements in 2016

December 29, 2016

Additional bus service, rail station modernization, public art and new technologies part of efforts to improve customer experience

2016 brought a host of improvements to CTA customers—from additional and improved bus and rail service to continued modernization of stations, trains and buses. CTA also continued its increased focus on improving the customer experience through new technologies and programs designed to provide faster, smoother and more convenient commutes.

CTA long-term projects

  • Red Line Extension, $2.3 billion: Completed environmental study on two proposed options ahead of selecting final location in 2017; identified $75 million to continue project planning.
  • Red and Purple Modernization: Finalized a portion of funding for $2.1 billion Phase 1 for reconstruction of four rail stations and construction of rail bypass and related track work.
  • Your New Blue, $492 million: Completed next phase, $43 million of renovation work to Addison, Irving Park, Montrose, Cumberland, Harlem Blue Line stations.

CTA rail stations

  • Wilson station reconstruction, $203 million: Project moved past 50% completion. Final completion: 2017.
  • 95th Street Terminal, $280 million: Completed work on south terminal foundation. Completion: 2018.
  • Washington/Wabash, $75 million: Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) continued new station construction. Completion: 2017.
  • Belmont Blue Gateway: Announced plan to add architectural canopy and upgrade station. Completion: 2018.
  • Illinois Medical District, $23 million. Began station renovation including accessibility improvements. Completion: 2017.

CTA bus service

  • Opened new Union Station Transit Center with CDOT to improve access and safety for commuters connecting between commuter trains and buses.
  • Expanded service on six bus routes and on Green Line on the South Side.
  • Piloted new service on 31st Street and extension of #11 service on Lincoln Avenue.

Rail and bus fleet

  • Awarded contract to purchase 400 new 7000-series rail cars; total purchase planned for as many as 846 cars.
  • Continued overhaul of 258 rail cars currently in service on Orange and Brown lines. Completion: Late 2018
  • New buses: Took delivery of 425 brand new buses.
  • Announced plans to purchase 20-30 all-electric buses.

CTA public art

  • Announced that first CTA bus location, a bus turnaround at Austin and Cicero, will get new public art.
  • Artist contracts awarded for Diversey/Brown, Illinois Medical District/Blue, Jefferson Park/Blue, Addison/Blue, Irving/Blue and Kedzie/Green Line stations.
  • Announced plans to add art to Cumberland/Blue, Montrose/Blue, Clinton/Green, Polk/Pink.

Cutting-edge technology

  • Expanded Bus Tracker arrival displays at 51 CTA rail stations.
  • Ventra app surpassed, 1 million downloads less than one year after 2015 launch; app used for more than $110 million of CTA, Metra and Pace fares in 2015. Wins top innovation award from American Public Transportation Association.

Customer experience

  • Launched the Strategic Accessibility Plan to make all CTA rail stations fully accessible over the next 20 years.
  • With the Chicago Public Library launched “CPL on CTA” to promote ability for transit customers to access Chicago-focused content via CTA's 4G subway wireless network.
  • Piloted pre-paid bus boarding on Loop Link bus corridor at Madison/Dearborn and at Belmont Blue station.
  • Free rides on the first day of school and on New Year’s Eve.


  • First-ever Elves’ Workshop Train created to follow popular CTA Holiday Train, which marked its 25th anniversary in 2016.
  • Chicago Cubs-wrapped CTA bus and train to celebration World Series championship.
  • Launched Heritage Fleet program to preserve and celebrate more than 100 years of CTA history




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