April 11, 2000

The Chicago Transit Authority today announced the results of a Customer Satisfaction Survey that shows the CTA is making significant gains in ridership,improved service quality, customer loyalty and more positive attitudes toward the CTA.

Overall satisfaction with riding the CTA continues to increase. In 1995, one of five (22%) riders surveyed indicated they were satisfied with riding the CTA. This figure increased to more than one out of three (34%) in 1999, earning the CTA an overall grade of B, up from a C+ in 1997 and a C+ in 1995.

In 1999, nearly three out of five (59%) CTA riders said they are likely to continue riding the CTA, an increase from 44% in 1995 and 50% in 1997. CTA riders are increasingly likely to recommend riding the CTA to others. In 1995, less than one out of three riders (32%) said they would be very likely to recommend riding the system to others. This figure increased to one out of two (50%) riders.

"The results of our Customer Satisfaction Survey will allow us to better understand our customers and their needs. The positive response from customers means that the improvements the CTA is making to our rail and bus service, to our vehicles and to our level of customer service are key to attracting new customers to our system, and retaining our existing customers," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Valerie B. Jarrett.

According to the customer satisfaction survey conducted by the Northwest Research Group, there was a significant increase in the number of households with CTA riders since 1997. In 1997, 25% of all households in the CTA service area had at least one CTA rider aged 16 and older in the household. This figure increased to 31% in 1999. This translates to 445,144 households in the Chicago area that have one or more riders, with the south and north sides of the city representing the largest rider segments. This is up from 327,260 households in 1997.

The mix of CTA riders has also changed. They tend to ride more frequently, not just for commuting from work or school, but for multiple purposes; are more likely to be employed full-time; be more affluent; and choose to ride the CTA instead of driving a car, despite their increase in car ownership.

Consistent with increases in customer loyalty, CTA customers noticed the greatest improvement in the following general areas: maintaining low fares; caring about its customers; providing a consistent level of service; providing quality service at an affordable price; and having a cost-conscious management.

The survey resulted in key finding regarding customers' experiences. Customers noted significant improvements on the bus and rail systems. These improvements were in the areas regarding: the cost of passes, transfers and one-way rides; the value of service for the fare paid; the external cleanliness of vehicles; the availability of printed schedules and timetables; the effectiveness of the toll-free CTA Customer Service Hotline; and the courtesy of bus operators and rail customer assistants.

The CTA Customer Satisfaction Survey also examined areas where improvements could be made that would reduce customers' problematic experiences that have the greatest negative impact on overall satisfaction.

Regarding bus service, the areas of improvement include: improving service performance such as frequency of service, knowing what time the next bus arrives, and ensuring on-time performance; improving communications by having bus operators explain reasons for delays or other problems, having accurate route and schedule information; and increasing comfort by placing seats or benches at bus stops, adding shelters and maintaining a comfortable temperature on board buses.

Areas of improvement on rail service include: improving communications such as clearer and timelier announcements of stops and having operators explain reasons for delays or problems; increasing the availability of seats at rail stations; and increasing the amount of parking available at rail stations.

CTA President Frank Kruesi said, "The improvements and investments we have been making here at the CTA have made a difference and they are making a difference to our customers. After a 15-year decline in ridership, it's continuing to climb because riders like what we are doing to make our service on-time, clean, safe and friendly. These aren't just buzz words, but a tangible commitment we are making to our riders and employees."

"These survey results have provided us with invaluable information that gives us the encouragement to keep up the good work and the drive to improve the areas where we still need some work."

The CTA Customer Satisfaction Survey was conducted by the Northwest Research Group between October 13 and December 5,1999. The telephone survey consisted of 2,464 interviews with current CTA riders drawn from a random sample of households within the CTA service area.

Back to news