Mar 20, 2024 - Transit

CTA adding more buses, promising return to pre-pandemic service

Person boarding a CTA bus.

Photo: Tim Boyle/Getty Images

The CTA is beefing up bus service across Chicago, starting this weekend.

Why it matters: The transit agency, and the Chicago Department of Transportation, have promised to improve inadequate bus service across the city, especially in neighborhoods where getting to and from bus stops is not accessible or safe.

Driving the news: Beginning Sunday, 29 bus routes will return to near pre-pandemic scheduled service levels, the CTA announced Wednesday.

  • The agency is focused on improving service on weekdays but will also have additional Saturday service on the #77 Belmont and #81 Lawrence buses.

Zoom in: Some of the routes slated for more service include #3 King Drive, #50 Damen, #20 Madison and #90 Harlem.

Between the lines: CTA has continually blamed its driver shortage — a trend seen nationally for less reliable bus service.

  • The agency says it hired 1,000 new bus operators in 2023 and is getting close to optimal staffing levels.

What's next: Rail services will be added over the spring and summer, mainly during rush hours on the Red, Green, Brown and Purple lines, and Blue line trains to O'Hare.

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