December a challenging month due to workforce issues, though improvements continue in both service and hiring efforts
Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) today issued its latest monthly scorecard tracking the progress the agency is making to improve service as part of its “Meeting the Moment” Action Plan.
The scorecard—which measures the agency’s performance in a number of operational areas during the month of December—shows progress in some areas but also the lingering challenges of workforce shortages that lead to service issues.
Among the results of the December scorecard:
The CTA’s efforts to reduce long wait times between trains continues to show improvement. Instances of customers experiencing long wait times for trains—intervals that are double and triple the scheduled headways—fell for the fourth straight month:
- Triple headways down to an average of 15 each weekday, down from 29
- Double headways down to an average of 101 each weekday, down from 158
December 2022 saw improvements in service delivered compared to December 2021:
- Bus Service Delivered: 82.2% in Dec 2021, compared to 83.4% in Dec 2022
- Rail Service Delivered: 71.2% in Dec 2021, compared to 75.4% in Dec 2022
However, December 2022 was down slightly compared to November 2022:
- Rail service delivered was 75.4%, compared to 79.5% in November
- Bus service delivered was 83.4%, compared to 85% in November
- Big gaps in service on buses were 12.9%, compared to 11.3% in November
Two events in December largely contributed to the slight decrease in service delivery: The cold weather/snowstorm of December 22-23, and higher-than-normal employee call offs on a few days during the holidays, including New Year’s Eve.
The Orange, Green, Brown, and Pink Lines are all providing approximately 90 percent or more of their weekday scheduled service, a significant improvement from previous schedule. However, the Red and Blue Lines continue to remain below 70 percent—an improvement from the previous schedule but still below the system average.
CTA continues to undertake aggressive recruitment, hiring and retention efforts to address a shortage of transit workers that continues to plague the transit industry. A fall 2022 study by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) found that 96% of agencies surveyed are having workforce challenges, and 84% of agencies reported that staffing shortages are impacting service.
The CTA offers regular training classes for current rail employees to become rail operators, and recent classes have had full enrollment. New operators will be assigned to rail lines after completing extensive and rigorous training. The CTA has a current deficit of about 100 rail operators.
As it relates to bus operations, the CTA hired 450 people into bus operator positions in 2022, the majority of which are full-time operators. CTA continues aggressive recruitment and retention efforts to address a current shortage of about 500 operators.
Ridership reached just under 21 million for November, an increase of about 11% compared to 2021. Ridership grew in all areas of the city, but was particularly strong in the Loop (up 21% over 2021)
Unveiled in August, the “Meeting the Moment: Transforming CTA’s Post-Pandemic Future” Action Plan is a multifaceted investment plan to strengthen the rider experience – more consistent and reliable service, safe rides, clean facilities, modern amenities, dynamic customer engagement tools, and a strong CTA workforce.
This is the latest effort by CTA to further improve communication and demonstrate the progress it is making to improve the customer experience and address the most pressing challenges brought on by the pandemic.
For more information on the “Meeting the Moment” Action Plan, or to view the monthly scorecards, visit, www.transitchicago.com/meetingthemoment/.