A year after service cuts, and we still feel the impact

One year ago today the CTA cut bus service by 19% and rail service by 9%. About 1,100 operators and other union workers were laid off -- though almost half have since returned to work due to attrition.

We're now pretty accustomed to the reduced service. But that doesn't mean we have to like it.

The main complaints I hear are about the shortened service hours, particularly at night. You used to be able to go out till after midnight or 1 am and rely on CTA buses to safely get you home. Now, many bus routes end between 10:30 and 11:30 pm, resulting in a shortened night of partying or an expensive cab ride home.

Also greatly missed are the eight express bus routes. And who likes the longer gaps in rail service?

How about you? How have you coped with the reduced service? Has it adversely impacted your lifestyle or commute?

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  • I miss my x80 and I'm annoyed by how the 56-Milwaukee was cannibalized. However, I still think the impacts aren't that bad (Yes, I live on a route that lost 3 hours of evening service). Ridership drops on the bus were not proportional to the cuts (4% in ridership vs 18% in service)and even with the cuts, rail ridership grew. If anything, we're a more efficient system. The mismatch in ridership to service levels essentially prove there was waste. And the red, blue and brown lines still maintain their rush hour levels at the peak of the peak and for the most part, the schedules don't differ too much from before the cuts. And lets remember, waiting 12 mins for a train on a Monday night at 11PM is still way ahead of most cities in this country.

    I'm not defending or railing (ha, railing) against the CTA but I do this for a living for several cities across the country and at the end of the day, all systems are making these hard choices.

    I understand the inconvenience of it all- I am fortunate to have options. But isn't that why you choose where you live? I chose Logandale (Logan + Avondale...pass it on) because I have a 24 hr rail line, a 24 hr bus line and three other all day bus lines. I can get home whenever I want without waiting too long. I may take a slightly different routing but I still get home. My biggest gripe is the last inbound Milwaukee leaving near my gym at 9:40 pm. That's about it.

  • I miss the 147 later hours. Makes it harder to come back from a late movie at the River East theater.

    Other than that, it hasn't been too bad. Would be nice if they could add back some service, like the 147 or the X buses.

  • "You used to be able to go out till after midnight or 1 am and rely on CTA buses to safely get you home. Now, many bus routes end between 10:30 and 11:30 pm, resulting in a shortened night of partying or an expensive cab ride home."

    I've seen this sentiment posted on other Internet sites, including someone mentioning how hard it was then to go from Boystown to Archer Heights, and another continually asking "how about extending this route to [name of bar]?"

    Although I am not advocating drunk driving, I doubt that CTA was ever safe that late, nor that is an essential reason for transit (as compared to getting to work).

    If you have to party outside your neighborhood that late, start a petition drive saying that you are willing to pay $10 a ride if CTA extends service into a time frame in which it apparently does not collect sufficient revenue to support it.

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack, I get your point, but in fact some people are not able to home from work either because of the cuts. And I should have mentioned that too.

  • In reply to jack:

    I've noticed the cuts, particulary at off-peak times. The cuts make BusTracker all the more useful.

  • In reply to jack:

    In the winter, having 15-20 minute gaps between buses is simply unacceptable. That's especially true on days like today, where the weather is in single digits and those waiting run the risk of frostbite or hypothermia.

    But then again, having any of the east-west buses not run 24 hours is a disgrace. The El in reality has very poor coverage of the city, and so when the buses can't operate as feeders to/from the Red Line and others, the whole system breaks down. I live way up north and can't do anything later than 11 unless I want to take a cab.

    It speaks very poorly to this city that the quality of public transportation has me considering relocating back to New York. I just cannot ever get where I need to go here without a car, much as I want to.

  • I notice the cuts a lot when I'm running around on Fridays. If it's not rush hour, expect to wait a long time between buses.

  • Even though I don't take it anymore, I still morn the loss of the X49. I remember this morning last year I was tired and suffering from "flu-like symptoms" after the Superbowl and had to confront the loss of my beloved bus in my weakened condition. :(

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