The Chicago Transit Authority today announced its plan for filling a $178 million shortfall in its 2010 budget. The plan would raise fares to as high as $3.00, eliminate several express bus routes, and reduce frequency and service hours on other routes. The agency blamed a 30% loss of public funding resulting from the weak economy as the reason for the large budget gap.
Under the CTA’s plan, the agency would eliminate nine “X” express routes which provide limited stops on corridors already served by local routes. Bus fares would rise from $2.25 to $2.50 for most routes, but would climb to $3.00 for remaining express routes. Rail fares would also rise to $3.00. Frequency would be reduced on bus and rail routes, while also reducing hours of operation on 41 bus routes. The cuts and increases would take effect February 7, 2010.
The decreased service levels would allow the CTA to retire all 287 remaining Flxible Metro buses which were first delivered in 1995. The cuts would also lead to the closure of Archer Garage, a 102-year-old facility that was originally designed for streetcars. The CTA would be left with seven bus garages and a rolling stock consisting entirely of low floor buses.
In detailing its capital budget for 2010-2014, the CTA outlined plans to begin mid-life overhauls in 2011 for its Optima Opus and New Flyer D40LFs buses. Overhaul of the Nova LFS buses delivered during 2001 and 2002 has been ongoing and will continue to take place.