After an eye-opening Tribune column earlier this month stating that “CTA buses rank No. 1 in collisions,” the CTA has fired back in a letter to the Trib, claiming that head was misleading.
The Trib reported Aug. 16:
“CTA buses have been involved in more collisions  annually since 2008 than buses operated by the nine other largest public bus systems in the United States, according to records compiled for the Tribune by the Federal Transit Administration. The accident rate reflects a bus incident occurring almost every day on average.”
On Sunday, CTA President Richard Rodriguez wrote in a letter to the editor:
Of those 271 collisions that involved CTA buses, more than two-thirds (or 67 percent) were instances in which CTA buses were struck by another vehicle. Being struck by another vehicle is more often than not outside of the control of a bus operator.”
To me, these are nuances. Bottom line is that the CTA ranks No. 1 in collisions. No doubt that the No. 2 ranking agency also has a high percentage of incidents where the bus was struck by another vehicle.
The good news here is that the frequency between collisions is higher. Rodriguez says: “In the past four years, the number of bus trips between collisions has increased. CTA had a total of 9,367,593 bus trips/runs in 2009, or one collision for every 34,566 trips made — an 8.8 percent improvement over 2008.”
Let’s make sure the numbers keep trending that way with the continued use of bus-simulator training and the focus on defensive-driving training.