Reduced CTA Service Set to Start Sunday, February 7

February 4, 2010

Riders Urged to Prepare for Longer Wait Times, More Crowded Buses and Trains

Chicago Transit Board Chairman Terry Peterson and Chicago Transit Authority President Richard L. Rodriguez today reminded customers that CTA bus and rail service reductions and layoffs will go into effect this coming Sunday, February 7.  Riders are expected to feel the full impact of service reductions on Monday, February 8, the first weekday under reduced operation.  Service will run less frequently on 119 bus routes and seven of CTA’s eight rail lines, and hours of service will be reduced on 41 bus routes.  These routes either will start service later in the morning, end service earlier at night or both.  In addition, nine express bus routes that have corresponding local service will be eliminated. 

Although the service reductions were designed to minimize the impact on rush hour service, riders should expect to experience longer wait times, particularly in off peak hours, and more crowded buses and trains.  Under current operation there are already numerous rail and bus routes that are at capacity during rush periods.  When service is reduced, crowding on these routes will increase so, in addition to longer wait times, riders who travel on the agency’s highest volume routes may have to wait for multiple buses or trains before boarding.  The CTA is advising riders to allow for additional travel time.

“We don’t want to reduce service or lay off employees – we would rather be adding service, growing ridership and saving jobs.  We know that the service reductions will inconvenience our riders and add time to their commutes,” said CTA President Richard L. Rodriguez.  “Unfortunately, the harsh reality is that we don’t have the funds we need to maintain our existing service.  Our largest labor unions have been unwilling to help us reduce costs, even if it means more than 1,000 of their members lose their jobs.”
“We know that we have many dedicated employees that will be laid off on Sunday.  Their preference would be to keep working rather than join the ranks of the unemployed,” said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Terry Peterson.  “Sadly, the leaders of the labor unions have not shared our urgency in working to save jobs for their members and preserve service for our riders.  These service reductions will make it more difficult for people to get where they need to go.”

Over the last few weeks, CTA has posted information on its vehicles, at stations and on its Web site.  Hundreds of CTA representatives have been out on the system at key locations to pass out informational brochures to riders which will continue into next week.

Information has also been provided to offices of local elected officials to share with their constituents and help them prepare for the impact of service reductions and to Chambers of Commerce, municipalities, city agencies and faith-based organizations to have on hand for residents who may contact them for information.

Customer alerts have been posted across the system listing routes that will be impacted.  Information has also been programmed on digital displays and electronic signage at rail stations and affected bus routes have been playing announcements outlining specific changes since early January. Signs are also posted at all CTA bus stops notifying customers of the changes to service. 

Service has been scheduled so that vehicles are carrying as many people as possible.  As a result, both buses and trains will be crowded at all hours.  As a general guideline, riders can expect an additional two to five minutes between buses during weekday rush periods.  Rail customers can expect an additional one to two minutes for a train during rush hour, and generally two to five minutes longer during off-peak hours.  Although that may not seem significant, both buses and trains will fill up faster as a result of the service decrease, particularly during peak service hours, and riders may be forced to wait for multiple vehicles to pass before being able to board. 

During off peak service hours, generally riders can expect an additional two to eight minutes between buses – during very late evening hours, there may be an additional 10 to 15 minutes between buses.

Customers are strongly encouraged to check the CTA Web site for specific information regarding their routes.

Informational brochures are available to customers at rail stations, on CTA’s Web site at www.transitchicago.com and through CTA’s Customer Service Center via e-mail at feedback@transitchicago.com or by calling 1-888-YOUR CTA (1-888-968-7282).  Brochures are available in English, Spanish, Polish and Chinese.  Detailed route-by-route information is available on the CTA’s Web site: www.transitchicago.com

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