Starting March 24, 29 Chicago Transit Authority bus routes will return to near pre-COVID-19 scheduled service levels.  -  Photo: CTA/Nova Bus

Starting March 24, 29 Chicago Transit Authority bus routes will return to near pre-COVID-19 scheduled service levels.

Photo: CTA/Nova Bus

Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) customers will see more scheduled bus service across the system in the coming weeks — the latest step in the agency’s efforts to better serve customers across the region with improved service.

Nearly 30 bus routes will receive additional service in the coming weeks, as CTA continues an aggressive recruitment and hiring effort to add the staff needed to provide more service.

The changes to the bus schedules will be implemented as part of the agency’s scheduling process, whereby bus employees are able to “pick” their work assignments at designated times throughout the year. The scheduling process is included in the collective bargaining agreement with union representing bus employees.

“This new service is a down payment on our commitment to bring service back to pre-pandemic scheduled service levels,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter Jr. “And while this additional service will definitely benefit our customers, our job is not done — we know we have much more work to do and we’re committed to it.”

CTA’s Bus Route Changes

Starting March 24, 29 bus routes will return to near pre-COVID-19 scheduled service levels. The agency is targeting a diverse network of bus routes that have recently experienced strong ridership recovery and provide a critical transit network throughout Chicago.

Most of the new services will be introduced during weekdays, with additional Saturday service on a couple of routes.

The scheduled bus service improvements in 2024 will continue to be based on expected bus operator hiring trends. CTA is telling its customers to expect improved service when new schedules go into effect, but the agency will take every opportunity to make additional schedule changes as personnel are added to the workforce throughout the "pick," which will continue to improve service delivery.

Looking at Adding Rail Service Too

Later this spring, CTA will look to make improvements to scheduled rail service as new operators are added to revenue service following the successful completion of their training.

Throughout the spring and summer, rail services will be added where demand is greatest, namely during the morning and afternoon rush periods on weekdays along the Red, Green, Brown, and Purple lines, as well as the O’Hare Branch of the Blue Line.

CTA has made significant progress in hiring new bus and rail operators to address workforce shortages and the usual trends of attrition. CTA plans to train up to 200 new operators, double the number in 2023.

On the bus side, CTA hired 1,000 new bus operators in 2023 to get very close to its optimal staffing levels. CTA will continue to publish its staffing levels — along with many other measures of agency performance — at transitchicago.com/performance.

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