CTA optimises bus schedule to provide more reliable service

Posted: 11 January 2023 | | No comments yet

By optimising its bus schedule, CTA aims to provide more consistent intervals between buses, reduce instances of large or inconsistent gaps in service, as well as better align services with the current available workforce.

CTA optimises bus schedule to provide more reliable service

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has announced that it has made changes to its bus schedules on nearly half of its bus routes, in order to provide better, more reliable service.

The schedule optimisation aims to:

  • Better align scheduled service with currently available workforce
  • Provide more consistent intervals between buses
  • Reduce instances of large or inconsistent gaps in service.

These temporary schedule changes to 52 bus routes throughout the bus network – including many of CTA’s highest ridership routes – will help to address the unpredictability of wait times, one of the most frequent comments CTA has received from its customers.

Like transit and transportation companies across the country, CTA is facing an unprecedented shortage of workers, especially bus and rail operators. The agency has undertaken aggressive recruitment and hiring efforts that have attracted more than 400 new workers in 2022. However, it is still short about 600 bus operators and will continue its efforts in 2023 to address this gap.

CTA’s 2023 budget focuses on modernising bus and rail services

“As we did last year (2022) with rail schedules, we’re working to provide more consistency and reliability, which is what customers have asked for and what we promised,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “We recognise there is more work to do, but we are moving in the right direction and will continue to make additional adjustments to improve service for our customers. Our ultimate goal is to build back our workforce to provide all the transit service our customers deserve.”

The bus schedule optimisations, which took effect on 8 January 2023 in conjunction with the union schedule ‘pick’ process, aligns scheduled service with currently available workforce. Although the service hours have not changed, nor has routing or the days of service, the schedule frequency has been adjusted to reflect the available workforce and will provide more consistent intervals with significantly fewer missing trips until more personnel are available.

In addition, another benefit of these optimisations is improvement in Bus Tracker accuracy. CTA anticipates that customers will see fewer instances of ‘ghost buses’ throughout the system. The agency also continues to explore other improvements to its trackers to further enhance the reliability and accuracy of this customer tool.