ridership report screenshot

A CTA report showing weekday bus crowding between May 16 and May 29. 

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has released crowding reports for the buses in its system to help riders navigate public transit as the city begins to reopen. 

The CTA reports are designed to help riders “determine the best times for their travel, especially customers who have more flexibility on when to ride, and to help promote social distancing,” according to the agency. 

The current data covers the last two weeks of May, and shows that most of the buses that run through Hyde Park tend to avoid overcrowding. The Jackson Park Express, for instance, only sees a brief period of high ridership — with few seats available — in the early afternoon on Saturdays. Otherwise, there tends to be enough free space that people can safely socially distance while riding. 

Buses in the community areas adjacent to Hyde Park are more crowded. On weekdays, the 47th Street bus has little free space for much of the afternoon, and the Cottage Grove bus is one of the most crowded buses in the whole system. That could be due to the fact those routes run through a number of lower-income neighborhoods with a majority-Black population — essential workers in the Chicago region have disproportionately been poor people of color, per an analysis from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. 

The CTA is working on a similar set of reports for the rail system.

(1) comment

John Weis Loftus

As a CTA rider, I have no car ..I use CTA exclusively as my transportation other than walking... I would offer the suggestion, that when a bus becomes “over crowded“, people without wearing masks should be asked to exit the bus ...to allow those people wearing masks waiting at the stops.

Also, the CTA should mark the appropriate seats that are available and not available with some kind of temporary marker, because people left their own choices do not efficiently fill up a bus that same way.

Overall, I don’t see any reason that the busses can’t accommodate everyone,…

You can go to Walgreens or Jewel and be much more crowded and close than sitting in a bus,

but I guess we’re all doing our best to do what’s right. Right?

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