CTA bus schedule disruptions are more common on South Side routes, data shows

Wednesday, December 7, 2022
CTA 'ghost buses' more common on South Side routes: data
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Although the service disruptions are happening all over the city, data shows CTA buses not arriving on schedule, or not arriving at all, is most common on South Side routes.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Yulonda Lake and Daizah Gillard head in different directions for work, but they run into the same roadblocks getting to their destinations relying on the CTA.

"I'm always late," Lake said.

"I be late to work all the time," Gillard said.

Their issue is buses running behind schedule or not on schedule at all.

"I just stand here and wait like I am doing right now," Lake said.

The CTA blames the service disruptions on a staffing shortage and absenteeism. The CTA has roughly 1,000 vacancies across various frontline positions, but the majority of open positions are bus operators.

The agency said that routes that come out of garages with higher rates of unplanned absenteeism are seeing the most service disruptions.

Bus operator unplanned absenteeism system-wide is 14.5%, according to CTA data.

The CTA garages on 77th and 103rd have the highest absenteeism rates in the city. The 77th street garage at 18% and the 103rd street at 17.6%.

In comparison on the North Side, the CTA North Park garage has an absenteeism rate of 10%.

Although the service disruptions are happening all over the city, the impact can be greater on passengers who may not have the means to hail a cab or request an Uber or Lyft.

"Because the buses be late I have to spend $10 or $20 on an Uber just to go up the street," Gillard said.

"Too much for me. Too much for my pocket. I can't do Uber," Lake said.

Active Transportation Alliance Campaign Organizer W. Robert Schultz III said CTA service issues affect more than riders' ability to get to work on time.

"It also impacts people when they're headed to medical appointments, when they're planning shopping trips for groceries," Schultz said.

While the CTA works to recruit workers and improve service reliability, passengers say the agency should update their schedules, which the agency is promising to do next month.

"They need to make the bus schedules exactly what they are supposed to be," Gillard said.

As the weather cools down, riders don't want to be left out in the cold.