The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is the second largest public transit agency in the United States with more than 1,800 buses, 1,400 railcars, 9,000 front line operations staff, and a 2019 weekday ridership base of almost 1.5 million. We serve the City of Chicago and 35 surrounding suburbs and we provide more than 80 percent of regional transit rides. CTA is the backbone of Chicago’s and the regional transportation network.
Similar to many industries, public transit was upended by the COVID-19 pandemic as ridership plummeted in March 2020 and commuting patterns changed for the long-term. CTA met this moment by delivering as much service as possible to the essential workers and transit dependent riders of the region throughout the pandemic. As vaccines rolled out and people began to return to a “new normal”, CTA began facing new challenges with a hiring deficit and growing bus and rail operator attrition impacting service delivery.
The COVID-19 pandemic is not over. CTA, along with several industries, is feeling the continued impacts of this new normal on our workforce and service. We are also impacted by other socio-economic conditions of the region we serve. Particularly, instances of crime and unruly behavior on our system are negatively impacting rider experience.
Meeting the Moment: Transforming CTA’s Post-Pandemic Future Action Plan aims to address these issues in the near-term, while also laying the foundation for a long-term transformation of the Agency. Our long-term goal is to align our growing transit network with new mobility patterns and ensure CTA is a first choice of travel for many riders in the region.
This customer-focused action plan is grounded in five key pillars.
These pillars are central to the CTA rider experience, and will be reinforced by near-term strategic investments, initiatives, and tools. As the Agency rolls out this action plan, our senior leaders will be seeking input from our customers and connecting with riders across the system, and the Agency will be working hard to recruit bus and rail operators to alleviate the workforce shortage. The engagement and roll-out of this plan will also inform a long-term strategic plan to prepare the Agency for success in a post-pandemic world.