Living in the City of Chicago, I am sure that almost all of us have been on or at least seen some sort of CTA transportation in our daily lives. I know as a fact that I use both the Train and the Bus lines as a way to travel around the city that is a much more inexpensive option that taking a taxi cab or driving myself then parking and having to pay a premium for that parking spot. The CTA is the second largest public transit authority in the United States, and on an average day there systems of trains and buses provide transportation to over 1.6  million people on a daily basis.

Obviously with such as large amount of people that can be affected there is plenty of room for improvement within the system. I know that on more than one occasion I have been on a train that has broken down or been stopped because they train in front of them has broken down. This quickly will lead to delays in a City where people hate to be late and don’t have all that much spare time on their hands. So recently the CTA has selected the Trapeze Group to give there Operational Systems an overhaul. This groups main focus is going to look into improving the upkeep of the hardware used on a daily basis. This ultimately may lead to more improvement on the tracks as well as speedy service. How many times have you seen someone cram themselves onto an already crowded train just because they know the next train won’t be to the station in time to get them to work.


So my question is there anything other than maintenance that could be improved by the CTA that would make your commute more efficient? Remember 1.6 Million opinions could make some big changes.




  1. I believe the purchase of new trains can help make my commute more efficient. Newer trains mean less maintenance cost and higher efficiency. The CTA can have improved tracks, but what’s the point of that when the trains are outdated and inefficient?

  2. http://www.chicagotribune.com/videogallery/70491995/News/Bombardier-s-new-CTA-rail-cars-back-on-track

    This link provides the visual of the supply chain for Bombardier and the CTA’s new trains. I believe these new trains will increase efficiency and also provide more room for passengers due to their design. If you ever ride the pink line you will notice their digital signs, these are an example of the new design. I believe another maintenance aspect could be providing a new line. This will increase infrastructure in the city, jobs, and also a new source of income for CTA. Specifically, the “gray line” along the lakefront. http://www.grayline.20m.com/cgi-bin/i/images/color_flier_rear_(print).jpg

  3. I love that I can use my UPass to get around the city, expecially when I want to go out to UIC to see some of my friends. The train ride between the DePaul Loop Campus and UIC Halsted stop is about 5 mins more are less, the wait time is around 5-30 mins… It gets ridiculous sometimes, so much that you don’t even want to waste your time anymore! Sometimes you want this situation fixed more than you want the construction in the city to stop. Transportation in Chicago, is just getting worse by the day!

  4. Yes, I agree that the purchase of new trains can help improve the CTA system. However, just to clarify a lot of the old train tracks do need remodeling as well since the construction on the tracks caused a HUGE inconvenience for those riding el to get a round (in particular Thorndale-Howard stops).

    Anyways, I also agree that improvement for shorter wait times could be a huge improvement. Even though it might mean more costs in terms of employment it could help raise the income.

  5. Other than maintenance, the biggest problem with the CTA is efficiency. For example, there have been many instances where the Brown Line train I was on was approaching a station, and as it arrived, the transferring Red Line train was leaving the station, instead of waiting the few extra seconds so that the people transferring could get on. I think that if the CTA handled these situations more efficiently, it would make the commuting process a little easier for everyone.

  6. I’m not sure how they will be handling the maintenance, but hopefully it will not disrupt the train schedules. If there will be a disruption there should be some kind of a notice for commuters so that they can adjust their schedules. The time allowed for passengers to get on and off is also very short. Especially if there is a lot of people. I’m always scared that i wouldn’t be able to get off at my stop and be carried away to the next one.It feels like there is no gap between when it announces that the doors are closing and when the doors are actually closing. They should come up with a way to hold the doors open for and extra couple seconds to give passengers a chance to all get off.

  7. I agree with the other people when they say that CTA should buy more trains. The reason why I say that is because it gets overcrowded and since trains come 10 minutes apart after 9am if they have more trains then trains wouldn’t need to come 10 minutes apart. Also sometimes the trains between stops because they are waiting for the train in front to leave the stop so I think the management must do something about it.

  8. I do not think that the Trapeze Group did a good enough job consulting or that the CTA did a good job taking the Group’s recommendation. So many times, on the Red and Blue lines, trains will be bunched together and then other times (during the same time of day) one can wait for a train for over 20′ before it comes. What the CTA should really do is analyze the mountain of data they have from turnstiles and actually have a proportionate amount of trains to people going through turnstiles.

  9. I think the EL is running the best way it can for the time being. I take it everyday to and from LP and it is a nightmare when you hear maintenance but id rather wait 30seconds to assure that my car is not going to derail! As for other features they have already started changing and updating cars, but it cannot be done all in one day, it will take years and year and check after check to have the entire system up-to-date.

  10. I think that the issues with the CTA, although annoying, are understandable. Of course I would love to see things improve if possible – and there may be ways to do this – but personally I think they do a pretty good job given what they are coordinating and the service they are providing to Chicagoans. Waiting 20+ minutes for a train definitely is a bummer, as well as getting stuck on a train that stops, but overall I think the CTA is a wonderful service offered to us and makes a lot of peoples lives a lot easier!

  11. The CTA in general could operate more efficiently, whether it’s buses or trains. For starters, they should have more trains running more frequently especially during high traffic times. They could operate with the maximum number of cars attached during each run. My main issue with the CTA doesn’t only speak to the time spent waiting, but also to the safety of its passengers and the cleanliness of its cars. If they could figure those few things out, I may consider riding it again.

  12. When the train stopped, I am stuck. First of all, I would say that CTA did a great job providing the bus and the train. However, I do agree that acquiring the new train would improve the system. The new train would help CTA run more proficiently. Although I lived in Chicago for couple years; there were many times that I am stuck in the train. Lately, I preferred to take the bus even though it takes longer. I took the bus because when the bus has some problem, I could get off easily and walk to another bus, which I could not do this with the train.

  13. I think that jamellea above has a good point that fixing the tracks and focusing on mproving that aspect of the CTA system would increase efficiency tremendously. They began work on them this summer and when I read into it, I learned alot about the CTA that I did not know. One of the most surprising facts being that some of the tracks were still from the 1920’s which is almost crazy that they are still working.

    I do think that the CTA working with apple and droid application creators greatly improved their efficiency as well. Although that has nothing to do with their physical structures and the maintance of them, having the application let me know to the minute when the train will be arriving makes me experience with the CTA much better. I do not have to stand out on the platform and wait 10-15 minutes, instead I can see when the train is coming and arrive shortly before it will pull in the station. This will make customers happy which will encourage them to ride the CTA more often, leading to an increase in revenues allowing the CTA to use the funds to invest in reasearch and development to improve the structures and the cars or buses.

  14. Aside from maintenance/repairs to the railway and bus stops, the CTA could improve the efficiency and timing of their trains and busses to make everyone’s commute better. I do agree that the new apps for smart phones and bus tracker texts can help with this problem but nothing is more irritable than trying to catch a bus and then finding out there isn’t one coming for another 30 minutes and after those 30 minutes go by you see two busses arrive at the same time. Where was the first bus 15 minutes ago? Commuters also can do a lot to ease this problem. If I had a nickel for every time that someone requests a stop and waits till the last possible minute to get out of their seat and head to the door, id be rich.
    I agree with everyone that the new trains would help/are helping make commutes faster and more efficient due to the fact that the new and old trains are being used with allows for more runs to be made. The features on the new trains also save time because the train operator does not have to announce “Please do not board this train the doors are closing” three times before the doors close because of the new lights and sounds that signal the door closing.

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