It’s not just you: Chicago Transit Authority buses and trains are running reduced and delayed, a new resolution signed by 34 aldermen says.
The group of aldermen is calling for a public hearing on CTA’s unreliable service. Ald. Carlos Ramirez (34th) introduced the resolution at Wednesday’s City Council meeting. Constituent concerns about CTA service have been flowing into his ward office, he said.
“I’ve heard consistent complaints about the reliability of the service of the CTA, complaints about the CTA bus and train tracker providing incorrect information, people missing appointments and people arriving late to work,” he said.
Ramirez-Rosa hopes a Committee on Transportation and Public Way hearing regarding CTA’s service can be held in July. A CTA representative told him the organization looks forward to working together, he said.
“I certainly believe that these issues are very pressing, as do my constituents,” he said.
The alderman, who uses the transit system regularly, said he’s experienced the issues himself.
“The tracker is off. It tells you the bus is going to come in two minutes, five minutes and never arrives. There’s an ongoing situation with not enough service during rush hour,” he said. Delays and reduced service have led to overcrowding that makes social distancing difficult, he said. Reliable service is particularly important now, as inflated gas prices make driving a worse option, he added.
A hearing would give the CTA a chance to explain the challenges it is facing and present a plan to make service more reliable, Ramirez-Rosa said.
“We’re only going to see ridership increase, we’re only going to see people use the CTA instead of driving if we actually provide them with reliable service they can trust,” he said.
When asked about train and bus delays, reductions and incorrect tracking information, a CTA spokesperson shared a link to a webpage describing the challenges the organization is facing because of the pandemic.
“Like every U.S. transit agency, the pandemic has impacted our agency. We have employees who are unable to come to work because of quarantining due to COVID-19,” the webpage says.
“When unplanned absences like that occur, we work to put other operators and staff in place to minimize the impact on service. But even one missed train or bus run can create a gap in service, and thus a longer wait time for customers at a station or bus stop,” it continues.
The CTA site said the organization is “strongly marketing” its available jobs in an effort to fill existing vacant positions.
Ramirez-Rosa acknowledged the transit authority is facing pandemic challenges.
“CTA’s such a vital service,” he said. “We know that public agencies have faced challenges as a result of the pandemic. We know that it’s difficult to get material when you need to fix things. We know everyone is struggling to find staff to fill vacancies.”
But the CTA still needs a plan to make service more reliable, he said.
“Working people, hundreds of thousands of people rely on CTA every single day. They need to have confidence that this is a reliable service that will get them to and from work safely and on time,” Ramirez-Rosa said.