CTA Passes 2016 Budget With No Fare Increases

November 18, 2015

Balanced spending plan freezes fares and preserves service levels; capital spending plan continues historic investment in modernization

The Chicago Transit Board today approved a balanced $1.475 billion operating budget that—for the fifth year in a row—holds the line on base fares and maintains or improves service, while continuing historic investment to modernize the CTA and improve the customer experience.

“CTA’s budget demonstrates that the agency continues to operate in a fiscally sound manner while still making unprecedented investments to modernize and improve bus and rail service,” said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Terry Peterson. “CTA provides vital transit services for millions of riders each year, and this budget continues to invest in efforts to better serve Chicagoans across the entire city.

The 2016 budget introduces, builds on and accelerates several new initiatives, service improvements and technology upgrades to benefit riders and improve the customer experience.

Additionally, the agency in 2016 will continue with the more than $5 billion in system-improvement projects completed, begun or announced by Mayor Emanuel since 2011, including rehabilitating rail stations and building new ones, modernizing rail and bus fleets, adding new technologies to improve the commuting experience, and bringing the agency’s massive infrastructure into a state of good repair to improve reliability and safety. For a fifth straight year, the CTA will not transfer capital funds to cover operating costs.

“Over the last four years, Mayor Emanuel’s investment in Chicago transit has provided CTA customers with improved, more reliable and affordable transit service, and I am committed to continuing that work,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “Equally important with keeping up with meeting the needs of our customers is to continually find ways to do so more efficiently and cost-effectively. I look forward to continuing the many improvements the CTA has made thus far, and exploring new and even better ways to provide vital transit services to our customers.”

CTA customers in 2016 can look forward to many new and enhanced services:

  • The new Ventra app, launching this week, which seamlessly integrates fare payment across CTA, Metra and Pace
  • 4G wireless through CTA’s 22 miles of subway tunnels
  • Return of express bus service to Western and Ashland, two of three of CTA’s busiest bus routes
  • Launch of Loop Link, better connecting 30,000 bus customers to the Loop each weekday with faster, more efficient service
  • Continuing to pursue next-generation rail cars, the 7000-series, to provide a more modern, reliable rail fleet as rail ridership grows
  • Overhauling or replacing nearly CTA’s entire fleet of buses
  • Continuing to grow advertising revenue to offset operating costs and keep fares affordable for customers

Among the capital projects to continue or begin in 2016:

  • Your New Blue program will continue to upgrade the Blue Line O’Hare branch with improvements of five more stations, including a new elevator at Addison
  • Continuation of the complete reconstructions of the 95th Street and Wilson stations on the Red Line—transforming decades-old stations into modern transit hubs
  • Work on the new Washington-Wabash station will continue which will replace two century-old stations and serve as a gateway to Millennium Park and the Loop
  • Accessibility improvements to the historic Quincy Loop ‘L’ station
  • Continuation of planning for the Red-Purple Modernization and Red Line Extension projects
  • Making signal improvements to modernize Brown and Purple Express tracks between Armitage and the Merchandise Mart stations

Continuing its efforts to streamline management and non-union personnel, the CTA will eliminate 100 positions in non-customer-facing areas, maintaining a lean management-to-worker ratio.

The 2016 budget projects a 0.7 percent growth in ridership, continuing an upward trend in 2015, which was on pace to show a 0.2 percent growth in ridership and another record year for rail ridership.

The 2016 budget can be viewed on the CTA's web site at www.transitchicago.com

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