A Chicago 'L' train
|Slogan||Take It Everywhere|
|Founded||October 1, 1947|
|Service type||Bus and Rapid Transit|
|Routes||Bus: 154, Rail: 8|
|Fleet||Bus: 2,144, Rail: 1,190|
|Daily ridership||Approximately 1.7 million (2008 census)|
|Fuel type||Diesel, Diesel-electric hybrid|
|Chief executive||Richard Rodriguez|
Chicago Transit Authority, also known as CTA, is the operator of mass transit within the City of Chicago, Illinois and some of the suburbs. It is the second largest transit system in the United States and fourth largest in North America. The Chicago Transit Authority offers bus and rapid transit routes throughout the city, as well as to some suburban destinations.
The CTA is a municipal corporation that started operations on October 1, 1947 upon the purchase and combination of the transportation assets of the Chicago Rapid Transit Company and the Chicago Surface Lines streetcar system. In 1952, CTA purchased the assets of the Chicago Motor Coach Company, which was under the control of Yellow Cab founder John D. Hertz, resulting in a fully unified system. Today, the CTA is one of the three service boards financially supported by the Regional Transportation Authority.
The Chicago Transit Authority produces a monthly television show hosted by Jeanne Sparrow. The show is broadcast on City of Chicago public access channels 23, 49 & 25, as well as on Comcast's CN100 in greater Chicagoland, including areas of Michigan and Indiana. It features news of the CTA, "Rodeo" winners and outstanding employees of the system, a recurring segment called Jeanne's Journey exploring different neighborhoods and attractions of Chicago. The program can be watched online at http://www.transitchicago.com/news_initiatives/connections.aspx
The Chicago Transit Authority provides service to Chicago and 40 surrounding suburbs. The CTA provided a total of 499.5 million rides in 2007, a 1 percent increase (4.7 million more rides) over 2006 numbers.
CTA operates 24 hours each day and on an average weekday provides 1.7 million rides on buses and trains. It has approximately 2,000 buses that operate over 154 routes traveling along 2,273 route miles (3,658 km). Buses provide about one million passenger trips a day and serve more than 12,000 posted bus stops. The Chicago Transit Authority's 1,190 train cars operate over eight routes and 222 miles (357 km) of track. Its trains provide about 650,000 customer trips each day and serve 144 stations in Chicago. The Chicago Transit Authority employs more than 11,000 people to operate the entire system. The system is the second largest urban transit system in the United States. Only the vast Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York City is more extensive.
The CTA allows riders to board a bus and pay with cash, transit cards, or Chicago Cards. As for trains riders are only allowed to pay with a transit card or a Chicago Card. There was a time when one could pay $1.75 and receive a transit card on the bus. The card would be worth three bus rides but as of today it is no longer available. Today the card has to be purchased from a local currency exchange (such as Western Union and Checks Cashed), bus terminal, or subway platform.
Only buses allow riders to pay with cash. The fare is $2.25 (as of January 1, 2009), and cash transfers are not available. Previously, some rail station turnstiles accepted cash but this feature has been removed in an effort to speed up boarding, except during sporting events at nearby 'L' stations, such as the Red Line 'L' station at Addison (near Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs) and the station for the same line at Sox-35th (across the street from U.S. Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox).
Transit cards are sold at all rail stations, currency exchanges, CVS, and at the CTA's headquarters. There are two types of transit cards: stored-value and unlimited rides. Regular transit cards can be bought anywhere. The cost of fare for a regular transit card depends on whether a person gets on the train on the bus first. If the person is riding the train first then the bus, then the first amount taken off is $2.25, on the second ride the machine takes .25 off the card, then the third ride is always free. If a person takes the bus first, the machine will take $2.00 off then for the second ride, the machine takes off .25. Unlimited ride cards can be purchased at the CTA headquarters and from vending machines at select CTA Stations (O'Hare on the Blue Line, Midway on the Orange Line, and Chicago on the Red Line), as well as from a variety of retail outlets throughout the Chicago area, such as currency exchanges and select Jewel and Dominick's stores. They are available for one day ($5.75), three days ($14), seven days ($23), and thirty days ($86). There are also reduced fare cards available for senior citizens, people with disabilities, Chicago Public School students, Evanston Public School students, and students of certain area universities as well. Fare card and transit card vending machines were installed at downtown Metra train stations (Union Station, the Ogilvie Transportation Center, and the LaSalle Street Station) in early 2006.
The Chicago Card (along with the Chicago Card Plus) is a contactless smart card, powered by RFID, used by riders of the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) to electronically pay for bus and train fares. The Chicago card and Chicago Card Plus allows the riders to "tap" the card against a touchpad located in the front of the bus to allow faster and easier boarding.
Bicycles are permitted on CTA buses during all operating hours, and on CTA trains every weekday except from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.(during rush hour) On Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, bicycles are allowed on trains all day. If you board the train with your bicycle before the hours listed above and your trip extends into those hours, the CTA allows you to finish your trip. If trains are crowded, the use of trains by cyclists may be restricted by the rail operator as appropriate. Bicycles are not permitted on trains July 3 due to Independence Day celebrations. Folding bikes may be brought aboard CTA trains and buses during all operating periods, including rush hour.
A maximum of two bicycles are allowed per train car. For example, if the train is four cars in length, a total of eight bicycles are allowed on that train.
Transit operators have the discretion to deny access to anyone with a bike if they decide that conditions are too crowded. The CTA's entire bus fleet is now equipped with bike racks in front which can accommodate two bicycles. All CTA trains accept bicycles, although bikes are discouraged on the 2200-series rail cars with "blinker doors" (if they were turned sideways, they would look like a blinking eye when opening and closing). Only standard-size bicycles are allowed on all CTA vehicles; tandems are not allowed.
CTA buses were known as the "green limousine" or the "big green" — buses were one or more shades of green from the CTA's establishment through the end of the 1980s. With the delivery of the TMC RTS buses in 1991, a more patriotic color scheme was adopted, and the green scheme was fully phased out by 1996. A notable color scheme was the "Bicentennial" of about 1974 to 1976.
CTA bought very few buses between the mid-1970s and the end of the 1980s. During this time, purchases were only made in 1979 (20 MAN/AM General articulated buses), 1982-83 (200 Flyer D901 buses and 125 additional MAN articulateds), and 1985 (362 MAN Americana standard length buses). Another aspect of this period was that with the exception of the 1979 and 1983 MAN orders, none of those buses had air conditioning, a budget saving move by the CTA. The 1972-76 fleet of New Looks, 1870 total, which were originally air conditioned (although there were problems with the air-conditioning systems, resulting in their eventually being disabled and sliding windows installed in the buses), comprised the majority vehicles in service into the early 1990s.
Today CTA's current fleet of buses is mostly dominated by New Flyer's D40LF, which replaced buses that were built in 1991 and some built in 1995.
|6000-6329||1995||Flxible Metro||40 ft (12 m)||287||Diesel||LED||74th, 103rd, Chicago, Forest Glen, Kedzie||Some buses have been retired.|
|6400-6883||2000-2002||NovaBus LFS||40 ft (12 m)||480||Diesel||Flip Dot / LED||77th, Archer, Forest Glen|
|1000-2029||2006-2009||New Flyer D40LF||40 ft (12 m)||1,030||Diesel||LED||74th, 77th, 103rd, Chicago, Forest Glen, North Park, Kedzie|
|500-544||2006-2007||Optima Opus||30 ft (9.1 m)||45||Diesel||LED||Archer, Forest Glen|
|800-809||2006||New Flyer DE40LF||40 ft (12 m)||10||Diesel Electric||LED||Kedzie|
|900-909||2007||New Flyer DE40LF||40 ft (12 m)||10||Diesel Electric||LED||Kedzie|
|4000-4207||2008-2009||New Flyer DE60LF||60 ft (18 m)||208||Diesel Electric||LED||77th, 103rd, Kedzie, North Park||According to New Flyer, CTA has also approved a contract for up to 900 more, but the initial order of 140 was deferred.|
|2200 Series||1969-1970||Budd Company||Blue||No||142|
|2400 Series||1976-1978||Boeing-Vertol||Green, Purple||Yes||194|
|2600 Series||1981-1987||Budd Company||Red, Blue, Pink, Purple||Yes||596|
|3200 Series||1992-1994||Morrison-Knudsen||Orange, Brown, Yellow, Purple||Yes||258|
|5000 Series||2010-?||Bombardier Transportation||Yes||Prototypes began arriving in late 2009.
Entry into service expected in 2010
After the September 11, 2001 attacks, CTA announced its "If you see something, say something" campaign. CTA has also installed a security camera network, and a system to send real time images from cameras in buses directly to emergency responders.
CTA has also been actively prosecuting vandals, announcing on several occasions that felony convictions were obtained against persons who spray painted authority vehicles.
See also Chicago 'L' concerning incidents on the rapid transit system.
The CTA has within the past few years installed GPS Bus Tracker system on all buses to reduce the issue of bunching buses and for riders to be able to determine the location of buses online. It has proved to be very successful so far seeing a bunching decrease of 40% since 2007. The bunching rate has dropped from 3.9% to 2.3% in just two years, according to one report.  CTA has also made its Bus Tracker and other developer tools available, and is making Bus Tracker arrival data available through text messaging. One of the first applications of the Bus Tracker Developer Tools involved the installation of monitors showing the information in several businesses in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood.