Recession Results in Furlough Days, Elimination of 1100 Jobs and Internal Cuts Service and Fare Changes Proposed
In presenting his budget recommendation for 2010, Chicago Transit Authority President Richard L. Rodriguez said today that a 30% loss of public funding contributed to a $300 million shortfall and staff reductions, mandatory furlough days and strict controls on spending along with transferring capital funds to operating will be necessary to help fill the gap. The remainder will come from service efficiencies and fare increases, although the CTA will also continue to seek action from its unions and the General Assembly to identify additional savings and reduce the impact on customers.
The CTA identified three areas that have contributed to the shortfall: declining public funding, union contracts and pension obligations. In 2010, the CTA’s public funding will be $213 million lower than the RTA’s original projections. The CTA’s public funding is generated from sales and real estate taxes and both are down due to the recession. Current labor contracts call for a 3.5 percent union wage increase this year and pension bond interest and employer contributions are scheduled to increase.
“Faced with declining revenues, our challenge is to manage responsibly and make strategic budget decisions that will enable CTA to weather the recession, operate more efficiently, and still provide the critical services that so many working men and women rely on,” said CTA President Richard L. Rodriguez. “We have evaluated numerous options to cover the shortfall. It was only as the very last resort that we were forced to consider fare and service changes, something I had hoped to avoid,” he added.
I hope the changes we were forced to make protect our working riders, especially those who depend on the CTA to go to and from work and live their lives every day,” he said.
By making those hard choices, Rodriguez said, the CTA was able to reduce expenses and generate enough new revenue to propose a balanced budget of $1.285 billion dollars.
To minimize the impact of a slow economy on riders, the CTA has already cut $50 million in spending this year through management improvements and efficiencies. They included strict controls on labor costs, savings in materials and fuel, more efficient management of contracts, eliminating non essential travel and seminars, and a reduction in the cost of equipment maintenance services due to the retirement of problematic buses and introduction of new buses.
“We knew we had to dig deep internally. Non-union CTA staff will again forgo salary increases, in addition to taking up to 18 unpaid days. Job eliminations are also proposed – up to 100 non-union administrative positions will be cut as will more than 1,000 union positions. “During these difficult times, it was a tough decision to eliminate these jobs because I understand families will be affected, but we had no choice,” said Rodriguez.
“These actions along with a fare increase will help reduce the impact on service. If there was a bus or train serving a stop or station before, there will continue to be service there,” he added.
The CTA’s proposal is designed to retain as much service as possible, while reducing costs and maximizing efficiency. The only route eliminations proposed are nine express routes that have corresponding local service,” he said.
All parts of the region that have CTA service will continue to have it. Savings will be realized through less frequent service and service that might start later in the morning or end earlier at night.
Key elements of the plan include:
- All rail routes and all bus routes will be maintained except for nine express routes that have a matching local route.
- Night Owl service on both bus and rail remain unchanged, preserving service for those third-shift workers who have few options other than public transit.
- To the extent possible, the impact to rush hour service was minimized.
- Service will run less frequently on 110 routes.
- Service spans will be adjusted for 41 bus routes. These routes will either start service later, end service earlier, or both.
In total, bus service will be reduced by 18 % and rail service by 9%.
These service changes will provide additional management and maintenance efficiencies by allowing CTA to retire 287 buses that are 15 years old and costly to maintain and to close Archer Garage, which is a 102-year-old facility that was not designed to support 2010 requirements.
The CTA’s fare proposal was designed to provide a range of options for customers, while protecting those who are hardest hit in this economy. By limiting the fare increase for regular bus service and establishing a surcharge for rail service and express buses, customers can choose to pay more for a faster mode of travel. In addition, the CTA will still offer multiple pass options that provide better value than single ride fares.
Key elements of the fare proposal include:
- The proposed bus fare is $2.50, which is a 25 cent increase (11%) from the previous cash fare and a 50 cent increase (33%) for those who paid with fare media.
- For all rail service and 19 express bus routes the proposed fare is $3.00. (33% increase for rail; 33 to 50% increase for bus depending on whether riders previously paid with cash or a fare card.) Rail service and express routes provide faster service, with fewer stops.
- Reduced fares will not change.
- Current transfer fees and policies will stay the same.
- There will no longer be a surcharge to pay with cash.
- Pass prices are proposed at $8 for a 1-Day pass, $18 for a 3-Day pass, $30 for a 7-Day pass and $110 for a 30-Day pass. All provide unlimited rides.
The service and fare changes are scheduled to go into effect on February 7, 2010.
In the meantime, the CTA will also continue to pursue other opportunities to identify savings or additional revenues. These steps will include meeting with unions to ask their cooperation and discussing legislative options with state elected officials.
“This is a difficult budget. This economy is taking its toll on everyone and every organization. We’ve tried to manage responsibly and develop a budget that makes the necessary cuts but still maintains the core of the CTA system,” said Rodriguez. “The CTA is committed to its customers. We will continue to look for the most efficient operating methods and call upon the resourcefulness of staff to help reduce costs and increase revenue. I am confident that we will get through these tough times and emerge a better, healthier, more efficient agency.”
The Chicago Transit Board will consider the proposed budget at its November meeting. It will also be presented to the Cook County Board in November, as required by the RTA Act. The Chicago Transit Board must submit a balanced budget to the RTA by November 15th and the RTA must approve budgets for the service boards by year end.
CTA customers and the general public will have the opportunity to provide comments to the Chicago Transit Board on the President’s 2010 Budget Recommendations at three budget meetings. All are scheduled for 6:00 p.m.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Austin Town Hall
5610 West Lake Street
Chicago, IL 60644
Monday, November 2, 2009
Lane Technical High School
2501 West Addison Street
Chicago, IL 60618
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
South Shore Cultural Center
7059 South Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60649
Written and oral comments will be taken into consideration prior to the Chicago Transit Board’s approval of the 2010 Budget and Program, the 2010 Capital Program of Projects, and the Financial Plan. This input will be welcomed at the meetings or by correspondence addressed to Gregory P. Longhini, Assistant Secretary of the Board, Chicago Transit Authority, P.O. Box 7567, Chicago, Illinois 60680-7567. Input also can be sent via e-mail to: email@example.com.
The deadline to submit written comments is November 10, 2009.
The proposed budget is available for public review at the CTA's General Office, 567 W. Lake Street, Chicago, Illinois, 60661, second floor, weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Regular and large print copies are also available at this location. Copies will also be available at the main office of the Regional Transportation Authority, reception desk, Suite 1550, 175 W. Jackson, Chicago, Illinois 60604. A copy of the proposed budget is also posted on the CTA's web site at www.transitchicago.com. A list of libraries and additional locations where the document will be available is below.
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2010 Budget Recommendations
Proposed Service Details
Proposed Span Reductions
Proposed Fare Structure
Copies of the budget proposal will also be available at the reference desks of the following libraries:
Chicago Public Library – Three Regional Locations
Harold Washington Public Library
400 S. State Street, 10th Floor
Chicago, IL 60605
Sulzer Regional Library
4455 N. Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL 60625
Woodson Regional Library
9525 S. Halsted Street
Chicago, IL 60628
Evanston Public Library
1703 Orrington Avenue
Evanston, IL 60201
Evergreen Park Public Library
9400 S. Troy Avenue
Evergreen Park, IL 60805
Oak Park Public Library
834 Lake Street
Oak Park, IL 60301
Riverdale Public Library
208 W. 144th Street
Riverdale, IL 60827
Skokie Public Library
5215 W. Oakton Street
Skokie, IL 60077