Transit is the circulatory system of our city. Unfortunately, our arteries are getting clogged up. Chicago only works if transit is working well, and as Mayor, I will set a goal to double transit ridership in 10 years. That means a 10% growth rate in ridership every year. All of my transit appointees will be judged and held accountable for that aggressive goal. To get there, I plan to:
Increase frequency of bus and rail service.
Working in partnership with the ATU locals who provide the service, we will put more runs on the street.
Speed up bus routes.
We can’t increase frequency of service if our buses are too slow. We will take each route and find ways to speed up the service. Fewer bus stops, better bus stop placements, pre-paid boardings, and traffic signal coordination are all options for every route to consider.
More Metra service in the city.
The Mayor makes an appointment to Metra’s board and I will work very hard to make sure that Metra service in the city is increased to meet the growing demand. I will also work to make sure the Union Pacific North line is built with triple-track, and build new stations in the city, including at 79th Street on the Rock Island and at Peterson on the UP North.
Allow transfers between the Metra Electric line and the CTA.
The disjointed fare policy that does not allow Metra and CTA passengers to transfer between each service is ridiculous, and I will begin the long overdue connection with the Metra Electric line.
Focus on marketing and communications to get more riders.
Chicago is the marketing capital of the country, but we do not do a good job selling the CTA to potential riders, particularly tourists. It can be confusion and bewildering to navigate our system, and with a renewed focus on ridership growth, the CTA and Metra will earn new riders through better marketing and communications.
More investment in transit from Springfield and Washington.
The state and federal governments have been underfunding transit in favor of roads for far too long. I will build a statewide and national coalition of transit riders, mayors and business leaders to push for the investment in transit that our economy needs. The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce has been a leader in creating national coalitions for transit, and I will revive that tradition.
Fund more bus service from employers.
The University of Chicago funds four CTA bus routes (the 170, 171, 172 and 192) which brings mobility to Hyde Park. This is a win-win scenario as it is cheaper for the University to pay for the bus service than it is to pay for parking lots. I will aggressively seek more partnerships to fund more bus service with private and public institutions throughout the city, so they can spend less on parking and open up their land to more productive uses.
Bring back the X bus routes that provided express bus service on major arterials.
One of the worst aspects of the cutbacks in service two years ago was the loss of the express bus routes. Working with the ATU, I will bring back these bus routes by the end of my term.
Extend the Red Line to 130th Street.
I will work to secure the necessary federal funds, and explore private funds, to build the extension of the Red Line to 130th Street to finally connect the Far South Side of Chicago with the CTA rail network.
Modernize the Red Line.
The North Red Line is the busiest rail line in the CTA system, and it is in need of a complete overhaul. I will work to rebuild the Red Line as a New Start, just as the Brown and Pink (then-Blue) lines were rebuilt with federal funds.
Cut back on middle management.
While the workforce at the CTA has shrunk over the last two decades, middle management has risen. I will reverse that trend.