CTA Makes More Changes to Tackle ‘Ghost Bus' Problem

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The CTA is changing its schedules to exorcise ghost buses, those buses that appear set for arrival on the transit agency’s tracker app but never show up.

The agency is redoing schedules for nearly half of the CTA’s bus routes to better align scheduled service with the agency’s available workforce. The goal is to provide more consistent intervals between buses and to reduce instances of large or inconsistent gaps in service.

“These temporary schedule changes to 52 bus routes throughout the bus network —including many of CTA’s highest-ridership routes — will help to address one of the most frequent comments CTA has received from its customers: the unpredictability of wait times,” the CTA said.

“Another benefit of these optimizations is improvement in Bus Tracker accuracy, and it is anticipated that customers will see fewer instances of ‘ghost buses’ throughout the system.”

The CTA is facing an unprecedented shortage of bus operators. It’s short 600 bus operators.

It hopes to solve the problem through aggressive recruitment and hiring efforts, which attracted more than 400 new workers in 2022, according to the CTA.

“As we did last year with rail schedules, we’re working to provide more consistency and reliability, which is what customers have asked for and what we promised,” CTA President Dorval R. Carter Jr. said in a news release.

“We recognize there is more work to do, but we are moving in the right direction and will continue to make additional adjustments to improve service for our customers. Our ultimate goal is to build back our workforce to provide all the transit service our customers deserve.”

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