Oct 21, 2022 - News

CTA releases 2023 proposed budget, but troubles continue

Photo of a train coming into the station.

A CTA train arrives at the Belmont station. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

The CTA released its 2023 proposed budget yesterday. The $1.8 billion budget avoids fare hikes, service disruptions and layoffs while continuing to offer pandemic discounts.

Why it matters: Despite a budget that features no service disruptions, CTA commuters faced delays and long wait times for Blue Line trains during Wednesday night rush hour.

What they're saying: "I was at my stop for 20 minutes with screens saying 10 different time arrivals," Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd), who frequently rides the Blue Line, tells Axios.

  • "The substandard state of affairs on the Blue Line needs to be addressed so that the CTA can continue to be an asset for the entire city."

The intrigue: We recently wrote about how commuting patterns have changed, with Tuesday-Thursday now seeing the heaviest ridership.

By the numbers: There are 3,152 full-time bus operators and 741 rail operators, which is 108 fewer than the start of the pandemic.

Context: Train and bus delays are not unusual for CTA, but this comes on the heels of transit advocates' complaints over ghosting — when tracker apps erroneously say a bus or train is arriving.

  • In response, CTA is putting out monthly scorecards to monitor transit reliability. Today, it's announcing a new train schedule designed to be more efficient and reflect current workforce availability.
  • "The new changes in the rail schedule will help improve tracker accuracy," CTA spokesperson Maddie Kilgannon tells Axios.
  • "Similar improvements to our bus schedules will come later this year."

What's more: As ridership returns, the CTA has seen a surge in crime. There have been almost 500 violent incidents in 2022. At this pace, it will be the CTA's most violent year in two decades.

  • Police increased patrols this summer, but data shows it hasn't slowed violent crime.

Zoom in: CTA president Dorval Carter is also stirring up controversy after his absence at a recent City Council hearing.

  • Alderpeople have said they are willing to hold up funds for the expansion of the Red Line until Carter shows the council respect.
  • In 2022, Carter received a 33% pay increase for what the CTA board called "rockstar" leadership during the pandemic.
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