Following the failure of last-minute negotiations between Chicago Transit Authority and union officials, service cutbacks will take place as scheduled on Sunday, February 7, 2010. While there is hope that future talks amongst CTA and union officials will result in an agreement that could roll-back service cuts and the elimination of 1,100 union positions, plans to reduce service and lay-off workers remain in full-effect.
As part of the changes, service will run less frequently on 119 bus routes and seven of CTA’s eight rail lines, and hours of service will be reduced on 41 bus routes. These routes either will start service later in the morning, end service earlier at night or both. In addition, nine express bus routes that have corresponding local service will be eliminated.
The service cuts will allow CTA to retire its remaining fleet of approximately 285 Flxible Metro buses and close Archer Garage, a 103-year-old facility originally built for streetcars. The Flxible Metro buses, which were placed into service in 1995, will be decommissioned and stored at Archer Garage. Batteries will be removed, fluids drained, and the vehicles will be secured. Should service be reinstated as the result of future labor negotiations, the buses could re-enter service and Archer Garage could be reactivated.
The 21 remaining routes that were assigned to Archer Garage will be distributed to other garages. Archer’s fleet of approximately 210 Nova LFS buses will be distributed amongst Chicago, North Park, and 74th garages. Its fleet of 32 Optima Opus buses will be sent to 103rd Garage.
Even if a deal is reached between CTA officials and the agency’s labor unions, it could take a week or longer to re-assign laid-off employees and return service to previous levels.