New CTA tool to help riders avoid crowded buses

The Ridership Information Dashboard will give weekly reports on the general capacity for every hour on each of the 127 bus routes in the city.

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A CTA bus

New Chicago Transit Authority tool to help riders avoid crowded buses.

Sun-Times file

The Chicago Transit Authority has launched several new guidelines and resources the agency hopes will slow the spread of COVID-19 as the city embarks on reopening and people begin returning to work. 

The new Ridership Information Dashboard gives weekly bus crowding reports for each of the 127 bus routes in the city, which the CTA said will help riders plan trips better and avoid packed buses during peak travel times.

The report will be based on new capacity limits on CTA buses and trains set by the agency in coordination with the Chicago Department of Public Health to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Now, only 15 passengers are allowed on 40-foot buses and 22 passengers are allowed on 60-foot buses and each rail car.

The report shows general capacity levels for every hour of each day using a color-coding system. Green means low ridership, yellow has some ridership and orange means high ridership — times and routes riders should avoid.

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CTA is working on a similar report for the rail system.

“As Chicagoans return to work and discover their ‘new normal,’ we welcome them back and encourage them to stay safe by planning ahead using the new dashboard tool and to continue to follow the new habits we’ve all embraced over the past three months,” CTA President Dorval R. Carter said in a statement.

Riders will also see new signs and floor decals during their commute that will encourage best practices for protecting yourself and others from COVID-19. These advertising materials will be in English and Spanish on platforms and throughout station houses. Floor markers will let riders know where they should stand to ensure proper social distancing, too.

Elevators will display capacity signs indicating two or three people are allowed at a time.

“Social distancing is an important component of healthy travel on public transportation. And it is my goal is to put as much information as possible into the hands of our customers, so that they can make informed travel decisions that help us all achieve proper social distancing,” Carter said.

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