Time will tell whether the union and CTA can reach agreement on some union concessions. But if that does not happen, in less than a week, the CTA will end nine express bus routes, cut frequency on seven of eight rail lines, reduce the span of service (start and end times shortening) on 41 bus routes.
CTA Tattler has published a detailed guide to all the cuts.
I asked a CTA spokesperson exactly how the CTA decided which routed to cut service on, and this is what she had to say:
First off, because it receives federal funding, the CTA must adhere to federal Title VI guidelines, which are anti-discrimination provisions that are designed to ensure routes that serve minority communities or the poor are not disproportionately impacted. The service reduction plan was developed according to them. The reductions are balanced throughout the system and do not impact one area more than another.
Second, . . . it is clear that most of CTA's rail lines and bus routes travel through multiple neighborhoods and are not limited to one neighborhood or region. For example, bus routes such as the #9 Ashland and #X9 Ashland, and #49 Western and #X49 Western serve customers on the North, South and West Sides. And although some express routes are being eliminated, the local routes will remain and will have some additional service (during rush hours only) to help make up for the loss of the express service.
In addition, we deliberately didn't touch Night Owl service on both bus or rail so that service stayed in place for third-shift workers who have few options other than public transit.
As far as the mechanics for how the plan was developed, the goal was to maintain as much service as possible for riders. By reducing the frequency of service during off-peak hours, and trimming hours of operation, we were able to keep the number of routes and services being eliminated to a minimum. That said, we still had to cut $95 million in service.
The basic steps:
- Eliminate the X-routes where a local service is available
- Reduce frequencies on bus service concentrating in off-peak (frequencies were changed to maximize ridership on each individual bus.)
- Reduce spans on bus service (trim consistently across the system )
- Reduce the frequencies on rail system concentrating in off-peak (thin service to maximize riders/train)