Demand CTA take action to improve service and reliability

"Commuters Take Action" logo overlaid on an image of people crossing the street in front of the Wasnington/La Salle Loop Link bus station, where people are waiting to board a CTA 56 bus

When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit Chicago, everything came to a screeching halt. Restaurants, bars, stores, even parks were closed and we were left with only what was deemed essential. One of those was the CTA. Repeatedly, we heard Mayor Lori Lightfoot proudly proclaim that Chicago was the only city in the nation that didn’t cut transit service – but reality has told a very different story.

Essential workers were met with disappearing trains and buses – and even a complete shutdown of the entire system. And as more and more things began to re-open, we’ve only seen a continued and steady deterioration of CTA service and reliability.

In fact, as the Mayor and CTA President Dorval Carter have continued to pat themselves on the back for a job well done, some reports have shown that CTA has been running as little as 50% of scheduled service on the Blue Line on any given day, leaving their riders behind and in the dark. Much of this is because of a staffing shortage, but instead of being honest with their riders and publishing schedules they were able to fulfill, CTA has chosen to lie and instead retain the existing schedule and cancel runs of trains and buses without notice. To add salt to the wound, the CTA Board gave Carter a staggering 33% raise to $350,000 citing his "rockstar" leadership during the pandemic. And to make things even worse, he skipped a City Council hearing intended to get to the bottom of CTA's increasing unreliability.

This is unacceptable, and you deserve better. Join us in calling upon Mayor Lori Lightfoot, CTA President Dorval Carter, and the Chicago Transit Board to be accountable and take immediate action to improve service and reliability.

Recently, upon public pressure, CTA President Dorval Carter announced a new ‘Meeting the Moment’ campaign, with promises to improve reliability by hiring new operators, transparency through improved bus and train trackers, and safety. However, the most significant measure that’s been taken so far is a nearly $31 million contract with a controversial private security firm to use attack dogs to deter fare evasion – something the agency has yet to demonstrate is a significant problem.

With that $31 million, CTA could hire over 400 new full-time bus operators, filling half of their current vacancies for that position. It’s pretty clear that their ‘Meeting the Moment’ plan is…missing the mark.

Can you take just a moment and send an email demanding immediate and impactful action from the Mayor and CTA?

This action from Commuters Take Action is being sponsored by Better Streets Chicago.

Commuters Take Action is a group of transit-conscious citizens and activists who are tired of being delayed by Chicago’s unreliable transit service. We are daily or frequent CTA riders who became frustrated by the exacerbated service, beginning in 2022. We have created a with resources for riders - forms to submit when a train or bus is late, steps on how to submit a public comment to the CTA board, Instagram graphics to post on their own social media, and a live tracker that shows the percentage of scheduled trains that run each day. This tracker was created by transit enthusiast, Brandon McFadden

Better Streets Chicago is a grassroots transportation advocacy organization that believes better infrastructure and service is critical for Chicago to be a safer, more equitable and more livable city.

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