CTA, Riders Hate Being Left Behind

A Tribune study shows customer complaints down in first quarter

What's your biggest gripe about the CTA?

Newly released data from the CTA
indicates that bus drivers who fly past people waiting at stops is No. 1 on most people's list -- but the litany of complaints doesn't stop there.

Rude bus and train operators came in at No. 2, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune, with frustration over track work slowing train travel dropping off considerably since last year.

Riders beef about bus bunching -- buses on the same route moving in a conga line, one behind the other -- but those complaints are few, making recent efforts by the CTA to space the buses arrival times difficult to measure.

A review of the data found, in fact, that the overall number of complaints lodged with the CTA has dropped in the past year, suggesting that the agency is doing some things right, amid an uptick of ridership of about 2.5 percent in the first four months of the year.

CTA President Richard Rodriguez told the Tribune that the agency is trying to instill a greater sense of pride at the agency and has restarted discussions with the transit unions about stressing the importance of providing courteous and on-time service.

The Trib reports that the CTA has set specific performance targets regarding service delays and numbers of miles a bus or train is expected to travel between maintanence breaks. The study indicates that improvements in those areas have been measured in the first quarter of 2009.

Still, noteworthy complaints from riders, according to the Trib, include:

  • The failure of agency employees to help riders, averaging 347 complaints a quarter from July through March.
  • Reckless driving, averaging 294 complaints per quarter over the same nine months.
  • Operators talking on a cell phone while driving buses or trains, producing an average of 114 complaints per quarter.

On the flipside, the study found that an average of 130 commendations came in to the CTA each month in the first quarter of this year, lauding employees who went the extra mile.

About half of the calls and e-mails the agency received in the first quarter were regarding the management of accounts of the Chicago Card and the Chicago Card Plus.

To add your call to these carefully watched statistics, call CTA Customer Service at 88-YOUR-CTA (888-968-7282).

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