The Chicago Transit Authority is providing several avenues for customers to obtain information about the upcoming service changes beginning February 7. The service reductions are necessary as a result of lower than anticipated revenues due to the sluggish economy.
“While we continue to have talks with the union on finding a solution that would enable CTA to minimize the number of service reductions needed, we want customers to have information as early as possible so that they can start to plan their travel based upon the new schedules,” said CTA President Richard L. Rodriguez. “Being able to plan ahead will help customers navigate the system better and ensure they allow enough travel time to reach their destinations.”
Two weeks ago, the CTA began posting customer alerts on buses, trains and at other CTA facilities. The alerts outlined the routes that will be affected by the service reductions next month.
Last week, information was posted on digital displays and other electronic signage at rail stations. Also, affected bus routes began to play announcements outlining specific changes in the hours of operation and a reminder if the route will run with less frequent service or if the route is being eliminated.
Detailed information also was posted on CTA’s Web site at www.transitchicago.com. Customers can access information regarding changes to service, including route-by-route changes.
General information on the service reductions has been sent to local elected officials, Chambers of Commerce, municipalities and other city agencies for them to have on hand for residents who may contact them for information. Additional detailed information will be delivered to these groups in the coming weeks.
Starting the week of January 25, CTA information specialists will be strategically deployed to key locations at bus stops and rail stations to distribute information prior to the service reductions.
Brochures with service information will be available to customers at rail stations and on buses across the system – in addition to being posted on CTA's Web site. The brochure will be available in English, Spanish, Polish and Chinese. If customers do not have Internet access and are unable to find the correct version, they can contact CTA Customer Service and one will be mailed to them.
Signs at all CTA bus stops notifying customers of the changes to service are scheduled to be in place by the end of the month.
To better serve customers, CTA’s Customer Service center will add weekend hours on February 6 and 7 to answer incoming calls regarding service changes. During the week the Customer Service center is staffed from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. to assist riders. Customers can contact the Customer Service Center via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1-888-YOUR CTA (1-888-968-7282); TTY 1-888-CTATTY-1 (1-888-282-8891). RTA's Travel Information line will also have details on CTA service following the service reductions. Customers can call 836-7000 from any local area code to speak to an RTA representative.
The service reductions are designed to retain as much service as possible while reducing costs and maximizing efficiency. All rail routes and all bus routes will be maintained except for nine express routes that have a matching local route.
The CTA worked to minimize the impact to rush hour service and 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. Service will run less frequently on 119 routes and service spans will be adjusted for 41 bus routes. These routes will either start service later, end service earlier, or both.
CTA’s Bus Tracker is a good way for bus customers to manage their wait time. Riders can access estimated arrival times for buses and can be accessed in three different ways:
- Online: Go to www.ctabustracker.com via a computer or Web-enabled mobile device to get estimated bus arrival times
- Subscription E-mail Alerts: Go to www.ctabustracker.com and sign up to receive customized e-mail alerts for specific day(s), time(s), route(s) or stop(s).
- Text Message: Send a text message to 41411 with “CTABUS” and your designated bus stop identification number; or simply send “CTABUS” and follow the instructions. Bus stop ID numbers all are available at ctabustracker.com
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