CTA, Metra ‘vulnerable,’ could soon lose riders

SHARE CTA, Metra ‘vulnerable,’ could soon lose riders
SHARE CTA, Metra ‘vulnerable,’ could soon lose riders

Chicago’s transit systems are in for a “pretty tough year” next year, and could start losing as many as 20 percent of their riders because of failing infrastructure, a DePaul University professor says.

Joseph P. Schwieterman, director of the Chaddick Institute and professor in the DePaul University Graduate School of Public Service, said there “are really scary signals” that the system is starting to fall apart even as it enjoys a “tremendous year” with lots of riders.

Schwieterman helped to research a study released Monday titled “Tending to Transit: The Benefits and Costs of Bringing Public Transport in the Chicago Region into Good Repair” that was commissioned by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce.

Chamber President and CEO Doug Whitley said state and federal programs that provided money for transit capital improvements both are about to expire. Chicago area transit systems need about $2 billion a year in steady investment, he said.

“[We] want to try to motivate our elected officials to embrace this program,” Whitley said.

According to the study, the need for infrastructure spending has grown by 20 percent in the last two years.

Last Friday’s rush hour, when the CTA canceled Purple Line service because of switching problems, was a sign of how underinvestment is catching up with the system, Schwieterman said.

Read the report “Tending to Transit: The Benefits and Costs of Bringing Public Transport in the Chicago Region into Good Repair” here.

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