Chicago Transit Authority

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Chicago Transit Authority

Learn more about Chicago Transit Authority

This article is about the mass transit system. Please see The Chicago Transit Authority for the album and Chicago for the band.

Chicago Transit Authority . also known as CTA . is the operator of mass transit within the City of Chicago. Illinois. The Chicago Transit Authority offers bus and rapid transit routes throughout the city, as well as to some suburban destinations.

[edit ] About

The Chicago Transit Authority covers Chicago city limits and forty surrounding suburbs. The CTA provided 492,405,118 rides in 2005, an increase of 17,454,157 rides, or 3.7 percent, over 2004. Gains were especially evident on the CTA’s rail system, which recorded its highest ridership since 1985. CTA has now achieved ridership increases in seven of the past eight years. [1] It operates twenty-four hours each day and on an average weekday, 1.6 million passengers access its buses and trains. The Chicago Transit Authority has approximately 2,000 buses that operate over 152 routes traveling along 2,273 route miles. 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 seven routes and 222 miles of track. Its trains provide about 500,000 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.


[edit ] Fare collection

The CTA allows riders to board a bus or train and pay with cash, transit cards, or Chicago Cards.

[edit ] Paying with cash

Only buses allow riders to pay with cash. The fare is $2.00, 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.

[edit ] Paying with transit cards

Transit cards are sold at all rail stations and at the CTA’s headquarters. There are two types of transit cards: stored-value and unlimited rides. 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. They are available for one day ($5), two days ($9), five days, seven days ($20), and thirty days ($75). There are also reduced fare cards available for senior citizens, people with disabilities, Chicago Public School students, and students of certain area universities as well. There are plans to install fare card and transit card vending machines at downtown Metra train stations (Union Station. the Ogilvie Transportation Center. and the LaSalle Street Station ) in early 2006.

[edit ] Paying with Chicago Cards

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. Fares paid with the Chicago Card are less expensive than they are for other riders; $1.75 for a one-way fare on buses and $2.00 on trains, and $0.25 for transfer to up to two other rides within two hours of initial fare.

[edit ] Bicycles on the CTA

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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. (0700-0900) and 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. (1600-1800) 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 3rd 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; if the train consist is four cars in length, a total of eight bicycles are allowed on that train. However, this rule is not enforced widely throughout the system.

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 rail cars with blinker doors. Only standard-size bicycles are allowed on all CTA vehicles; tandems are not allowed.

Helpful tips and the full guide to transporting bicycles on CTA trains can be found at http://www.transitchicago.com/welcome/biketran.txt .

[edit ] Equipment history and folklore

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 1983 MAN order, 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 1990’s.

The heavy rail orders of the CTA include the last railroad stock built by the Budd Company and one of the few examples of rail cars built by Boeing-Vertol. The next order is from Bombardier .

[edit ] Active Bus Fleet

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