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You’re on your way to work on the train. You take the bus to a doctor’s appointment. When you ride transit, you probably only think about going from point A to point B (or that big meeting you still need to prepare for later in the day).  As riders, we don’t often think of what it takes behind the scenes to get us where we need to go. There are about 15,000 men and women working in transit in our region each day.

CTA, Metra and Pace meet the daily travel needs of hundreds of thousands of riders by offering a range of services that help riders move throughout their day 85% of riders are satisfied with the service. And our region has one of the lowest unit cost per passenger mile among our peers.

For this blog, I want to pull the curtain back to show you some of what goes on behind the scenes for your commute each day. Achieving these service expectations for our customers requires a complicated operation of behind-the-scenes actions like:

  • bus and train operators that move the fleet to a carefully timed schedule that runs 24 hours a day;
  • dispatchers in the control centers who monitor operations and respond to incidents;
  • the maintenance staff working in garages and yards to clean buses and trains and prepare them for service;
  • technology staff overseeing systems that provide the real-time arrival information for buses and trains that is communicated to passengers.

Agency funding is used not only to operate the service that riders see, but also to provide the tools and training necessary to maintain around-the-clock back-end operations that make service possible. Check out this great graphic on what happens behind the scenes of transit service.

Day_Life graphic

There’s a lot of hard work that goes behind a trip on a bus or train. There also needs to be sustainable investments and funding to keep all of the equipment necessary for operations in constant working order. How do we get there? We lay it all out in our five year Strategic Plan: Invest in Transit.

Next time you’re on a bus or train, remember what it takes to get you where you need to go and how important it is to continually invest in our system to bring public transportation to the future.

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Read posts about how the RTA collaborates with CTA, Metra and Pace to plan, invest in and move the Chicago region’s transit system.

If you are looking for posts published prior to 2021, please view the Archives.

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