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Pace831

How COVID-19 affects transit

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This is very likely to be a recurring topic, so let's try to consolidate the discussions here.

As you are undoubtedly aware, the coronavirus epidemic has caused a sharp decline in transit ridership as people are ordered to stay home and avoid travel except for essential activities such as grocery shopping.

CTA ridership is down 68%. Refunds are being offered for Ventra 7 and 30 day passes.

Metra ridership is down at least 70%. Reduced service schedules have been implemented, and all cars are opened on all trains so that people can sit as far apart as possible. Refunds on monthly passes are available.

Pace ridership is down 53%. Schedules on 54 Metra feeder routes have been altered, Niles Free Bus operates on a weekend schedule every day, and routes 754 and 811 are suspended.

The trend is the same at transit agencies across the country. Nearly all have increased efforts to clean vehicles and stations.

The longer-term effects on transit remain uncertain. Some, such as Crain's and Streetsblog, have suggested a bailout may be necessary. It will take many months for ridership to recover and transit agencies will have to adjust their financial plans accordingly.

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5 hours ago, Pace831 said:

This is very likely to be a recurring topic, so let's try to consolidate the discussions here.

As you are undoubtedly aware, the coronavirus epidemic has caused a sharp decline in transit ridership as people are ordered to stay home and avoid travel except for essential activities such as grocery shopping.

CTA ridership is down 68%. Refunds are being offered for Ventra 7 and 30 day passes.

Metra ridership is down at least 70%. Reduced service schedules have been implemented, and all cars are opened on all trains so that people can sit as far apart as possible. Refunds on monthly passes are available.

Pace ridership is down 53%. Schedules on 54 Metra feeder routes have been altered, Niles Free Bus operates on a weekend schedule every day, and routes 754 and 811 are suspended.

The trend is the same at transit agencies across the country. Nearly all have increased efforts to clean vehicles and stations.

The longer-term effects on transit remain uncertain. Some, such as Crain's and Streetsblog, have suggested a bailout may be necessary. It will take many months for ridership to recover and transit agencies will have to adjust their financial plans accordingly.

Sucks. Instead of postponing this pick CTA should have made a 50% cut to adjust then went by ear as the situation adjusted but now we're wasting money and wear and tear to operate empty equipment. 

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52 minutes ago, Sam92 said:

Sucks. Instead of postponing this pick CTA should have made a 50% cut to adjust then went by ear as the situation adjusted but now we're wasting money and wear and tear to operate empty equipment. 

I agree with this, I'd just wonder best how to implement it. WMATA sent all buses to a sunday schedule, but this has sort of backfired in communities where a lot of people can't take off work, leading to crowded buses and such. The timeline for them doing so wasn't gradual enough either, it happened rather suddenly. I think the way to do it would be to:

  • Run CTA trains on a Saturday (Red, Blue)/Sunday (Brown, Pink, Orange, Green, Purple, Yellow) schedule, with maximum length trains to encourage distancing
  • Run all "Support" bus routes on a Sunday schedule (except routes 59, 146, 147, J14)
  • Run all "Key" bus routes on a Saturday schedule (and routes 59, 146, 147, J14)
  • Run all 24hr bus routes on a weekday schedule
  • Deploy all artics across as many routes as possible to encourage distancing

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1 hour ago, Sam92 said:

Sucks. Instead of postponing this pick CTA should have made a 50% cut to adjust then went by ear as the situation adjusted but now we're wasting money and wear and tear to operate empty equipment. 

I'm actually really amazed at how our transit system is able to keep up during these trying times. This episode really shows how important transit infrastructure is to any city. Ridership is down but I think the right call is to continue to run as much service as possible to maintain reliability while bolstering social distancing. I'm guessing the biggest challenge is filling in any holes created by operators staying home. Also, to the greatest extent possible, L trains should all be 8 car consists to encourage distance.

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Cutting back on service will be a issue cuz that means more crowded buses & trains it's already a tight place so how can you practice social distancing like it's already a issue when you gotta wait 20+ mins for a bus & it still don't come on time & it be packed 

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From maths22 there appears to be about 200 fewer buses out at rush hours yesterday compared to a Monday 2 weeks ago so there has been some cutback, which also explains why there are so many fewer 6400 out.

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3 hours ago, Shannon CVPI said:

Cutting back on service will be a issue cuz that means more crowded buses & trains it's already a tight place so how can you practice social distancing like it's already a issue when you gotta wait 20+ mins for a bus & it still don't come on time & it be packed 

Well, it'll be easier to cut back on some services, to the point where service can be freed up to maintain regular service levels elsewhere. For instance, riders of the Michigan & LaSalle express routes are much less likely to be riding during this time period than say, riders of the J14. This is also where those surplus artics come into play, since using those buses will help with distancing with there being more areas to sit and/or stand.

If CTA is smart, what they're doing right now is

  • identifying which routes still have a majority or a near majority of their regular ridership and which don't, and then adjusting routes or small groups of routes individually, instead of just doing a blanket sweep (which was WMATA's mistake)
  • Moving artics to 77th (the issues that plagued them on the 79 and 4 actually make them the perfect fit for this, and according to my grandmother, the 79 is only slightly less crowded)
  • Preparing for rear-door boarding for regular passengers (and thus the suspension of fare collection) to protect bus drivers
Edited by NewFlyerMCI
Clarified info

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Just now, NewFlyerMCI said:

Well, it'll be easier to cut back on some services, to the point where service can be freed up to maintain regular service levels elsewhere. For instance, riders of the Michigan & LaSalle express routes are much less likely to be riding during this time period than say, riders of the J14. This is also where those surplus artics come into play, since using those buses will help with distancing with there being more areas to sit and/or stand.

If CTA is smart, what they're doing right now is identifying which routes still have a majority or a near majority of their regular ridership and which don't, and then adjusting routes or small groups of routes individually, instead of just doing a blanket sweep (which was WMATA's mistake)

Yea you do have a point cuz it's still some routes that got good ridership

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1 hour ago, NewFlyerMCI said:

Well, it'll be easier to cut back on some services, to the point where service can be freed up to maintain regular service levels elsewhere. For instance, riders of the Michigan & LaSalle express routes are much less likely to be riding during this time period than say, riders of the J14. This is also where those surplus artics come into play, since using those buses will help with distancing with there being more areas to sit and/or stand.

If CTA is smart, what they're doing right now is

  • identifying which routes still have a majority or a near majority of their regular ridership and which don't, and then adjusting routes or small groups of routes individually, instead of just doing a blanket sweep (which was WMATA's mistake)
  • Moving artics to 77th (the issues that plagued them on the 79 and 4 actually make them the perfect fit for this, and according to my grandmother, the 79 is only slightly less crowded)
  • Preparing for rear-door boarding for regular passengers (and thus the suspension of fare collection) to protect bus drivers

Yea bus drivers need protection but I'm just kinda look at cutting service too much can put everyone at risk

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6 hours ago, Shannon CVPI said:

Cutting back on service will be a issue cuz that means more crowded buses & trains it's already a tight place so how can you practice social distancing like it's already a issue when you gotta wait 20+ mins for a bus & it still don't come on time & it be packed 

That's why I left room for error with my math. Ridership is down by 70% but I'm saying only reduce by 40-50% so they still have money during this, but there should still be extra room to space everyone out especially with the others idea of distributing reduction by route category.

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1 hour ago, Sam92 said:

That's why I left room for error with my math. Ridership is down by 70% but I'm saying only reduce by 40-50% so they still have money during this, but there should still be extra room to space everyone out especially with the others idea of distributing reduction by route category.

Yea now routes like 57 yea it don't go far cut it down to 1 bus it normally only be like 2 on it during the day & 3-4 all together during rush hour

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I thought I would go to the CTA headquarters and get my Ventra card replaced (it is taking multiple attempts to be read). I ended up having to call the Ventra customer service

number to order the replacement as the building was closed to the public. I can attest that ridership on the J14 and 3 King Dr was much lower than usual.

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7 hours ago, Pace831 said:

CBS News: Two CTA operators test positive for coronavirus.

That might be your explanation on why 200 buses are not in service. Fear is worse than the virus. I'm seeing it in uber as well. I don't get why they don't get masks for the operators. At least it will reduce transmission. With Ventra they should be getting ridership statistics. I say cut back on rush hour operations, maybe even eliminating some duplicate rush service like the #134, do we need to save 10 minutes, there is no traffic!! I've been reading a few interesting reports. Where there is lockdown, the virus has been eliminated. The original virused town in Italy now has no cases of Covid-19, so there is something to social isolation. South Korea is doing well. Why? People are protecting themselves. They have had other viruses and pandemics to learn from. We in the states are rookies. Hopefully we will get a reprieve in May or June but I hate to look at next winter. Workplace and school at home may end up being the wave of the future.

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On 3/24/2020 at 9:59 AM, NewFlyerMCI said:

I agree with this, I'd just wonder best how to implement it. WMATA sent all buses to a sunday schedule, but this has sort of backfired in communities where a lot of people can't take off work, leading to crowded buses and such. The timeline for them doing so wasn't gradual enough either, it happened rather suddenly. I think the way to do it would be to:

  • Run CTA trains on a Saturday (Red, Blue)/Sunday (Brown, Pink, Orange, Green, Purple, Yellow) schedule, with maximum length trains to encourage distancing
  • Run all "Support" bus routes on a Sunday schedule (except routes 59, 146, 147, J14)
  • Run all "Key" bus routes on a Saturday schedule (and routes 59, 146, 147, J14)
  • Run all 24hr bus routes on a weekday schedule
  • Deploy all artics across as many routes as possible to encourage distancing

I agree with this idea but CTA is stubborn when it comes to stuff like this. 

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1 hour ago, BusHunter said:

As if things weren't crazy enough now Milwaukee transit is having free bus rides.

91157635_10163314037705192_2167446870740172800_n.thumb.jpg.18a5658a79310b606395fcc85e7f8344.jpg

Yeah, that's not becoming uncommon. DC and Baltimore have already taken this step and I think Philadelphia is about to as well.

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2 hours ago, NewFlyerMCI said:

Yeah, that's not becoming uncommon. DC and Baltimore have already taken this step and I think Philadelphia is about to as well.

King county metro is doing it as well

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14 hours ago, BusHunter said:

As if things weren't crazy enough now Milwaukee transit is having free bus rides.

91157635_10163314037705192_2167446870740172800_n.thumb.jpg.18a5658a79310b606395fcc85e7f8344.jpg

A lot of cities have switched to this setup. I guess it shows they're doing something to try to protect their employees. Realistically, I'm not sure if it makes much of a difference. But it does show management tried to do something. With 6ft of recommended social distance, a 40ft bus should only have 5 passengers.

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Meanwhile, at least CTA isn't doing this:

https://wtop.com/tracking-metro-24-7/2020/03/multiple-metrobus-routes-in-northern-virginia-stop-running/

This has seriously been the most piss-poor response of any large transit agency I've seen in America so far

(To be clear, I'm referring to the bus situation, I'm more understanding, yet still concerned by some of the rail closures)

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2 hours ago, Pace831 said:

CBS News: CTA union complains of overcrowded buses.

They need to implement read-door boarding and send more artics to 77th & 103rd. Who is surprised that the city's busiest route since November 1998 is still experiencing crowding issues?

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