Tuesday, October 1, marks the Chicago Transit Authority's 50th anniversary as the predominant operator of public transit in Chicago. On that date in 1952 CTA acquired the properties and equipment of the Chicago Motor Coach Company (CMC). The acquisition of CMC was in addition to the CTA's existing rail operations.
Founded in 1917 as the Chicago Motor Bus Company, CMC operated Chicago's first motor buses mainly on boulevards and through the city's parks, where streetcars were not permitted to operate. The company evolved into Chicago Motor Coach Company in the mid-1920s with 423 buses and 1,800 employees serving 134 street miles within the city.
From 1935 until 1950, CMC used closed-top double-decker buses. Most of the 72 seats were on the upper deck, which passengers reached via a stairway behind the operator.
The CTA currently has a bus fleet of more than 1,900 and more than 11,000 total employees. The agency continues to make improvements to its service and fleets as it provides quality, affordable transit service that link people, jobs and communities. As the nation's second largest public transportation system, the CTA has grown to 142 bus routes covering 2,252 route miles and providing nearly one million bus rides a day. The CTA remains committed to providing service that is on-time, clean, safe and friendly throughout Chicago and 40 suburbs.
In 2003, new low-floor articulated buses will travel some of the same boulevards used by the CMC buses more than 50 years ago. Complete with air conditioning and accessibility to customers with disabilities, the new buses are a continuation of the CTA's efforts to modernize its fleet.
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