Restructured CTA Bus and Train Schedules Begin Sunday

February 6, 2010

Buses Reassigned and Prepped for Storage Due to Agency Service Reductions

Chicago Transit Authority President Richard L. Rodriguez was at CTA’s 77th Street Garage this morning as part of the agency’s continuing effort to prepare riders for the impact of service reductions set to begin Sunday. As part of the fleet preparation for the cutbacks, the agency is closing a 103-year-old bus garage, redistributing buses among its seven remaining garages and readying buses that are being taken out of service.
CTA is closing Archer Garage, its oldest bus garage, as a result of the service reductions and is also removing its oldest buses in its fleet from service. Both of these moves will provide operational savings to the agency. There are 22 routes that operate out of Archer Garage. Only one of those routes – the #X49 Western Express – is being eliminated. The other 21 routes and buses assigned to Archer are being redistributed among CTA’s seven remaining garages: 77th Street, 74th Street, 103rd Street, North Park, Kedzie, Forest Glen and Chicago Avenue garages.
“Buses are being reassigned according to model to maximize efficiency when it comes to stocking parts and performing maintenance," said CTA President Richard L. Rodriguez.
Archer Garage continues to operate through Saturday, the bus operators and maintenance personnel who work at Archer will report to their new assignments starting Sunday. Throughout the weekend, buses formerly in service at Archer are being moved to new locations.
Once operations have concluded at Archer, there will be a number of tasks that remain including distribution of maintenance equipment to other facilities and transferring files. The buses that are removed from service will be staged at Archer and will have the batteries removed, fluids drained and the vehicles will be secured.
Beginning on Sunday, 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. The reduction in service will increase crowding on these routes and lead 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.
While the greatest impact won’t be felt until Monday – the first working day for most people – those who ride the system on Sunday will experience the changes as well. 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. 
“I can’t stress enough the importance of customers planning their trips in advance,” added Rodriguez. “While the changes in the schedule may appear minor, they will make a big difference in the length of the commute. Customers are encouraged to use the Bus Tracker web site to get the estimated arrival times for their routes.”
CTA representatives will continue to be out on the system at key locations to pass out informational brochures to riders. In addition, information is posted on CTA vehicles, at stations and on the Web site at www.transitchicago.com.
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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