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CTA takes a step toward greater transparency  

We commend CTA’s recent initiatives to improve service and elevate transparency with the launch of an even more robust interactive performance dashboard, as part of its “Meeting the Moment” plan.  

This forward-thinking initiative responds to the calls from riders and advocates for more transparency and reliable service.  

As a part of its Meeting the Moment plan, CTA’s performance metrics report has evolved into an info-packed interactive visual dashboard that is updated monthly.  

This newest version of the dashboard provides riders with a 13-month operational history alongside key performance indicators that include: 

  • Service delivery performance, filtered by rail line and bus route 
  • Bus and rail operator hiring and attrition statistics
  • Status of elevators and escalators
  • Instances of bus and rail deep cleanings
  • Progress with Meeting the Moment objectives 

 

ADDITIONAL INITIATIVES BY CTA

Beyond the dashboard, the CTA has embarked on several other promising initiatives:  

  • Elevator/escalator tracker: CTA is transitioning to real-time updates about elevator/escalator statuses over the next 6 months, which will enhance accessibility for riders.
  • New customer relationship management system: The agency is using a new system for streamlining customer interactions and reporting processes. 
  • New hiring practices: With over 400 new people in training, bus operators can now start full-time, receive $1,000 sign-on bonuses, and receive stipends for testing fees. (Under the previous guidelines, bus drivers had to start part-time and work their way up to being full- time.) 

 

OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENTS

TransitCenter’s new report, People First, calls for a series of hiring and workforce reforms at transit agencies. These reforms happen to be improvements we need here in Chicago.  

While the new performance dashboard and other initiatives are great steps forward, CTA still does not have the workforce they need to provide its full range of services.  

Here are some other improvements that are needed.   

  • Transparency into service cuts: Groups like Commuters Take Action have been pushing for greater visibility into service reductions since 2020 and increased clarity on the rail operator career pathway to attract more candidates.
  • Data accessibility: Data from CTA should be more user-friendly for all customers by offering a mobile-friendly or voice-activated version.
  • Feedback mechanism: Including a customer feedback feature would allow for instant reporting of vehicle issues, possibly through QR codes on buses and
  • Expanded metrics: Additional metrics like passenger satisfaction, safety statistics, and environmental impact data could provide a more comprehensive performance overview.
  • Safety and security metrics: One shortcoming of these metrics is how they conceptualize safety. We urge CTA to focus less on stop and frisk and more on the experience of riders. There is still some planning work that needs to be done to be more transparent with riders about what is happening and where.  

 

We are pleased to see CTA striving for greater transparency and helping to create a system of accountability to customers and taxpayers. 

When more transparency is provided, it allows the public the opportunity to judge a transit agency’s effectiveness and ask for improvements where necessary. A public that understands more about how CTA works can lead to less overall cynicism and a greater ability to get things done.