August 31, 2004

The Chicago Transit Authority has fully equipped nine additional bus routes with accessible buses making 95 percent of its 152 routes accessible to customers with disabilities. The CTA considers a bus route to be accessible only when every bus serving that route is equipped with a lift or a ramp. As new accessible buses are delivered to the fleet, more routes will become fully accessible.

The routes officially became accessible August 1. The newly accessible routes are:

#120 North Western/Wacker Express (Monday-Friday rush periods)

#122 Illinois Center/North Western Express (Monday-Friday rush periods)

#125 Water Tower Express (Monday-Friday rush periods)

#128 Soldier Field Express (Bears games only)

#135 Clarendon/LaSalle Express (Monday-Friday rush periods)

#145 Wilson/Michigan Express

#146 Inner Drive/Michigan Express

#154 Wrigley Field Express (Cubs night and weekend games)

#156 LaSalle

?Making our routes increasingly accessible affords customers who rely on more expensive forms of transportation the option of taking CTA bus service whether they are traveling to work, school, medical appointments, shopping or recreational activities," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?Increased accessibility of our regular bus system also allows CTA to make better use of our limited resources."

?CTA's ambitious capital improvement program is bringing the system to a state of good repair for all of our customers, " said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Carole Brown. ?Upgrading our bus fleet with modern accessible buses is a key element of that program."

More than 99 percent (2010 out of 2024 buses) of CTA's bus fleet is accessible.

The CTA's efforts to make its mainline service more accessible to customers with disabilities includes initiatives beyond accessible buses. CTA is continuing to install an automated voice annunciation system on its buses that helps visually or hearing impaired customers know when they are approaching their destinations.

This system features exterior announcements and electronic signs that identify the bus route and its destination when the front doors are opened. It also includes interior announcements and signs identifying the next stop. Currently 82 percent of CTA buses are equipped with this system. By the early 2005 all CTA buses should be equipped with the system.

"I would like to thank our elected officials at the federal, state and local levels for providing us the capital dollars to upgrade our bus fleet," added Kruesi. ?An ongoing challenge has been getting federal money for operating funds."

On the rail system, all CTA trains are accessible with a minimum of two accessible cars per train. All CTA trains are equipped with a pre-recorded announcement system that informs customers of upcoming station stops. Gap fillers for wheelchairs are located at all rail stations to facilitate the movement of wheelchairs on and off trains. All CTA rail platforms include raised tactile edging to let customers know where the edge of the platform is located.

Following the recent re-openings of eight rehabbed stations on the Cermak (Douglas) branch of the Blue Line, 72 of 144 rail stations are now accessible. CTA will include accessibility features into the design of any new stations or those stations being substantially renovated.

A brochure describing CTA's accessible services is available at all CTA rail stations or by calling CTA Customer Service at 1-888-YOUR-CTA or 1-888-CTA-TTY1. The brochure also is on CTA's web site at www.transitchicago.com. In addition, customers can find information on accessible bus routes, rail stations and general CTA service by calling the RTA travel information center at 836-7000 from any local area code.

Advisory Committee:

CTA is seeking citizens interested in paratransit issues to join its ADA Advisory Committee. Established in 1993, the ADA Advisory Committee advises the CTA on practices, services and policies to make the bus, train and paratransit systems more accessible. Although the committee is strictly advisory, many of its recommendations have been adopted by the agency. Application information can be found on the web site under ?accessible services? or by calling CTA Customer Service. The application deadline is September 22.

The Chicago Transit Authority is the nation's second largest public transit system, serving Chicago and surrounding suburbs. Nearly two million customers use some combination of CTA, Pace and Metra to get to and from destinations throughout the six-county region. The CTA is committed to meeting the transportation needs of the region by providing quality and affordable transit service for all of its customers, including those with disabilities.

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