CTA launches Meeting the Moment scorecards to track progress on pandemic recovery

The Armitage Brown Line station platform this week. Photo: John Greenfield
The Armitage Brown Line station platform this week. Photo: John Greenfield

Now is the autumn of CTA rider discontent, due to staffing-related service gaps, untrustworthy Transit Trackers, and a spike in violent crime and nuisance issues like smoking and littering on trains. Amidst these problems, this week the transit agency introduced a new monthly scorecard to communicate to customers how the CTA is doing on the COVID recovery goals set in its Meeting the Moment action plan.

Released in August, the document set targets for providing reliable service, reducing crime, better cleaning protocols, rolling out new amenities, better customer engagement, and more complete staffing. Download the plan here.

The October 2022 scorecard. Click to enlarge.
The October 2022 scorecard. Click to enlarge.

“Meeting the Moment sets the bar high, in terms of improving service and the experience of our customers,” said embattled CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr., who failed to show up for his own City Council hearing on poor service on September 14, in a statement. “Through these new monthly scorecards, we will continue to hold ourselves accountable, and provide transparency to our customers as to where we’re making progress, and where there is more work to do.”

Each scorecard will feature a list of recent accomplishments, and a summary of progress on the action plan’s goals, including:

  • Percentage of rail and bus services delivered (the number of actual trips divided by number of scheduled trips)
  • Percentage of “big gaps” in rail and bus service (gaps between buses over 15 minutes AND double the scheduled interval)
  • Progress in bus operator hiring 
  • Installation of tactile bus stop signs for riders with visual impairments
  • Completion of Refresh and Renew short-term upgrades to stations 
  • Year-to-date Rules of Conduct violations issued by the Chicago Police Department’s Public Transit Unit  (it’s unclear whether a large number of tickets issued is supposed to be a positive or negative metric)
A tactile bus stop sign on Ashland Avenue in Pilsen. Photo: John Greenfield
A tactile bus stop sign on Ashland Avenue in Pilsen. Photo: John Greenfield

The scorecard also includes a bus and rail ridership graph. While the system recently reached a new pandemic-era high of an average of about 900,000 trips per weekday, that’s only 64 percent of the pre-COVID norm of 1.4 million rides per weekday.

The CTA says the scorecard will evolve over time to reflect new initiatives launched in the near future. “This is the latest effort by CTA to further improve communication and demonstrate the progress it is making to improve the customer experience and address the most pressing challenges brought on by the pandemic,” the agency said in a news release.

The CTA has a long way to go in order to rebuild ridership to pre-pandemic levels, which will require restoring rider trust that transit commutes will be safe, predictable, efficient, and sanitary. But the scorecard is a step in the right direction towards more transparency about how much progress is being made.

For more info on the Meeting the Moment plan, or to view the monthly scorecards, visit, www.transitchicago.com/meetingthemoment/.

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