CTA riders to feel real impact of "decrowding" bus, rail service changes on Monday

New schedules and service changes go into effect today under the CTA plan to reduce decrowding, but CTA riders will feel the real impact Monday during their commutes.

The CTA positions the plan as the “equivalent of $16 million in added service to bus and rail routes that are used by more than 76 percent of CTA’s customers – and comes at no additional cost to taxpayers and riders.”

But customers who use the No. 11 Lincoln have decried the “devastating impact on the quality of life of the Lincoln Square, North Center, Roscoe Village, and Lincoln Park neighbors and neighborhoods” that cutting the route’s segment from Fullerton “L” station to the Western Brown Line stop will have. That’s what one rider wrote to me in an email.

The plan discontinues service on what the CTA calls “12 duplicative or low ridership routes,” and service on four bus route segments, though not eliminating those entire routes. These include the abovementioned segment of the No. 11.

Rail changes

A total of 17 rail trips have been added, most of them on the busiest lines — the Red, Brown and Blue. The CTA is hoping to reduce the number of passengers on the crowded rush hour routes from more than 90 to 70-75.

Additional trips:

  • On the Red Line, there two added trips in the AM rush, and three in the PM.
  • On the Blue Line, there are three trips in the AM rush, and one extra in the PM.
  • On the Brown Line, there are two extra trip in the AM, and no changes in the PM.
  • On the Purple, Orange and Green lines, there is one extra trip on each line for both the AM and PM rush periods.

The CTA also is improving frequency weekdays in off-peak hours:

  • Red Line from 8 ½ to 7 ½ minutes during mid-day and early evening runs.
  • Brown Line from 10 to 7 ½ minutes during the mid-day.
  • Orange Line from 10 to 8 ½ minutes during the mid-day.

Finally, frequency will rise on weekends too:

  • Red Line from 7-10 to 5-7 ½ minutes on Saturday; plus 8-car trains will run until 11 p.m. Sunday.
  • Brown Line from 10 to 7 ½ minutes on Saturday.
  • Blue Line from 7 ½ -12 to 5-7 ½ minutes on Saturday; and from 10-12 to 6-7 ½ minutes on Sunday.

Bus route changes

Following is a CTA chart showing bus service changes. Routes in BOLD will get more service. Routes marked with an asterisk will have extended service hours. Find your particular bus route from the CTA website.

Bus route changes


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  • In the meantime, the board members are bloviating that they would not have voted to kill Lincoln, despite having unanimously voted to do so (except for Grimshaw, who didn't show up). I guess they have to toss some lip service to Ald. Pawar.

    Maybe the next time you have an "ask session," which I'm sure you won't, ask them why they don't show the minimal signs of accountability, like posting minutes and votes?

  • The pick started yesterday. I rode the Blue Line from Washington to California yesterday and was pretty impressed with the OTP of the trains. They were evenly spaced and coming about every 6 minutes yesterday afternoon. The train was a bit crowded but it was after the Bears game so that's to be expected. While waiting for a Milwaukee bus I saw a few more trains go by and they were again evenly spaced with some standees.

    On Belmont this morning, I got a seat on the bus when I got on (that hasn't happened in weeks) but I noticed that bunching was still an issue. The cta seemed to have just thrown a ton of service onto the street without really looking at running times or where buses are actually needed along a route. My bus arrived at Belmont Red about as fast as usual but when I got off, I saw two followers unloading as well.

    I think the bigger issue with OTP with the cta is the lack of usefulness by the Control Center. I was in a heated discussion with some cta friends about issues with supervisors and how the cta has the most advanced technology in the country but still faces basic operational issues that can be easily solved by using the technology and having capable supervisors watching the routes.

    For example: I was stuck waiting over 20 mins for a southbound Kimball at Irving Park late Saturday night (about 12:45am) when a bus finally came. I noticed the operator was about 8 minutes down. At Belmont, people got on bitching saying they were waiting 40 mins for a bus. When I got off at my street, I heard another bus go by about 2 mins later. The leader was over 30 mins down but nothing was done to mitigate. Control Center should have turned him around at Lawrence going northbound to keep him on schedule going southbound especially since he was BEHIND his follower. And I mean that in the literal sense.

    Until Operations gets better, no amount of planning will improve service. This is something I've been learning as I plan for systems around the country.

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