The CTA is focused on making its ETA. The Chicago Transit Authority operates the second-largest public transportation system in the US, behind the New York City Transit Authority. On a typical weekday, CTA passengers take about 1.6 million rides on the agency's buses and trains, which travel in and around Chicago and about 40 suburbs. The CTA operates a fleet of nearly 1,800 buses on 140 routes. Its rail system includes some 1,200 rail cars operating on 225 miles of track at more than 140 stations. The agency, created by the Illinois legislature in 1947, is part of the state's Regional Transportation Authority, which also oversees Metra (commuter rail system) and Pace (suburban bus system).
Facing budget shortfalls in recent years, the CTA was forced to raise fares, trim back its services, and lay off workers in 2009 and 2010. The higher fares -- jumping from $2.25 to $3 -- makes the CTA's rates among the highest in the nation for public transit. Cuts made in 2010 also included the elimination of 18% of its bus service and 9% of its rail service; the agency had no service cuts planned in 2011.
Despite its financial shortfalls, the CTA has been making capital improvements to its infrastructure. In 2010 it finished work on the $530 million renovation of its brown line rail service. It also made security and safety enhancements after expanding its system's security camera network. Other recent projects included replacing seven miles of track on its blue line and purchasing dozens of New Flyer hybrid buses, which the CTA expects will save it $300,000 annually in fuel costs. – less