Passengers Are Often Stranded With No Way to Get Home Home
Transit Group Says Bus Service Should Be CTA’s Priority
Citizens Taking Action, a public transit advocacy organization, questions whether an express L train to O’Hare Airport should be a priority of the transit system. The group has looked into various proposals for expanding service from the perspective of the transit dependent rider, and do not see this project as having any real benefit for passengers across the city.
Some time ago, for example, it did an informal study of service in each ward, and found that only five (5) which deserved a score of ten (10) for excellent service. The average score was 5.4.
In addition, the number of passengers using buses across the city has been declining for the past five years, and is a problem which needs to be addressed. Adding a customized, expensive L line does nothing to reverse this. Given the added expense of using this proposed new service, estimated from $10 to $25 per trip, it is unlikely to attract any daily ridership, such those employed at the airport, who might use it for commuting to and from work.
Service for the occasional airline passenger should not be a priority at the same time basic, essential transit services have been cut over the past several years.
A study of bus hours of operations showed that service is severely limited outside of the rush hour. Thirty-nine (39) bus routes cease running during the early evening, and another forty-four (44) stop running in the late evening. Out of a total of 125 routes, only seventeen (17) buses run a full twenty-four (24) hours, and most of these on routes which are shorter than those of daytime operations.
It is not uncommon for passengers to miss the last bus, leaving passengers with no way to get home, a serious issue during the winter. The system is of limited value to many employed in restaurants, or in retail stores, with late hours. Public transit should connect employees to employers, for a wider array of employment options
Restoring 24 hour bus and train service to the neighborhoods is clearly something that should be the top priority of CTA. At present, only two L lines, the Red and Blue, operate at all times, everyday. In addition, the number of bus routes and hours of operation have been cut, and the total number of bus stops across the system has been reduced significantly. This situation has made many passengers abandon public transits as their primary travel mode, and makes it difficult to attract new riders.
A few years ago, it was determined that CTA had shorted routes, and reduced the hours of service
on 62 routes. The transit system maintained these were merely “service adjustments,” and not an actual reduction.
The group has looked at the overall system, and has determined that 24 hour service should be implement on nineteen (19) routes: 4, 8, 9, 47,49B, 53, 53A, 54, 55, 62, 66, 72, 74, 77, 80, 82, 85, 87, 151).