Chicago-area transit modes hold their own when compared with transit agencies in nine other big cities across the nation. That's according to a recent review of federal transit data by the Regional Transportation Authority.
A key finding: "The system performed the best of all 10 urban areas in reliability of service, even though its equipment ranked second from last in terms of age," according to the Tribune story. "The report card is intended as a benchmark so the RTA and the transit agencies can measure how they perform in comparison with their peers and against themselves, said Grace Gallucci, the RTA's deputy executive director for research and policy."
The report card also showed that despite running antiquated equipment, the CTA and Metra do very well on performance compared with systems in Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia and Washington.
Some results for the CTA, from the Trib story:
- CTA bus operations ranked above the peer average on 10 of 11 measures.
- CTA rail ranked No. 1 for lowest operating cost per vehicle revenue hour, and it outperformed the peer average for miles between major mechanical failures, despite having the oldest rail fleet.
- Although significant money was spent keeping old trains in good repair — combined capital and operating expenses averaged $575,000 per rail car — it paled when compared with other transit agencies with similar yearly ridership and annual vehicle miles, CTA officials said. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority spent approximately $1.1 million per rail car over the same period, CTA officials noted.
- CTA rail underperformed its peer agencies in the service coverage area, likely because CTA rail cars hold fewer passengers than the larger trains operated by other agencies.
- The report pointed out that CTA runs more trains with excess capacity during non-peak hours.