Both bus and rail service reliability improved in February, with fewer long waits and more scheduled service delivered—according to the Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA) latest interactive scorecard on the “Meeting the Moment” Action Plan.
The revised scorecard, which tracks the monthly progress the agency is making to improve service, allows customers to see detailed service results for their bus route or rail line.
Among the results of the February scorecard:
The CTA’s efforts to reduce long gaps between trains continues to show improvement. Instances of customers experiencing long wait times for trains—intervals that are double and triple the scheduled headways—fell for the sixth straight month:
Triple headways down to an average of 13 instances each weekday, down from 29
Double headways down to an average of 92 instances each weekday, down from 158
For CTA bus riders, the results are even better with an ongoing reduction in big gaps in service since the new schedules went into effect in January. Big gaps in bus service – intervals that are double or triple their scheduled times – have already dropped nearly in half, from 12.3% in December to 6.5% in February.
February 2023 saw improvements in service delivered compared to January 2023:
Bus Service Delivered: 94.1% in February 2023, compared to 92.7% in January
Rail Service Delivered: 82.6% in February 2023, compared to 80.6% in January
The Orange and Green, lines are providing more than 90 percent of their weekday scheduled service, while the Brown and Pink Lines are just under 90 percent. The Red Line achieved 71.6% of scheduled service, while the Blue Line achieved 79.6%. Both are improvements from the previous month and CTA continues to pursue strategies to further adjust schedules amid continued workforce challenges on not only the two busiest rail lines, but the other rail lines as well.
The primary contributor to service challenges is the nationwide shortage of transit-industry frontline workers. Additionally, when last-minute call-offs occur—and backup workers are not available—CTA can’t put out all scheduled train trips customers deserve.
CTA continues to undertake aggressive recruitment, hiring and retention efforts to address the shortage of transit workers that continues to impact the industry. A fall 2022 study by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) found that 96% of agencies surveyed are having workforce challenges, and 84% of agencies reported that staffing shortages are impacting service.
The CTA offers regular training classes for current rail employees to become rail operators, and recent classes have had full enrollment. New operators will be assigned to rail lines after completing extensive and rigorous training. The next graduating rail operator class is anticipated to enter service in April. The CTA has a current deficit of about 100 rail operators.
As it relates to bus operations, the CTA has already hired 20 percent of its 2023 goal of 700 bus operators, which will help fill the shortage of about 600 bus operators, this includes having added personnel available to meet workforce needs. In 2022, the agency hired 452 people as bus operators. CTA hosted a very-well attended job fair in January and the next one is scheduled this Friday at CTA Headquarters to attract new candidates for bus operator and mechanic positions.
Unveiled in August 2022, the “Meeting the Moment: Transforming CTA’s Post-Pandemic Future” Action Plan is a multifaceted investment plan to strengthen the rider experience – more consistent and reliable service, safe rides, clean facilities, modern amenities, dynamic customer engagement tools, and a strong CTA workforce.
For more information on the “Meeting the Moment” Action Plan, or to view the monthly scorecards, visit, www.transitchicago.com/meetingthemoment/.