The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Chicago Transit Breakdown

Jul 18, 2022

If you’re a worker plagued with skyrocketing gas prices and reliant on Chicago Transit Authority buses and trains to get to and from work, then you are forced to deal with a rapidly eroding level of service.

Likely, you are having discussions with your boss explaining late arrival and absences. And your after-work plans, family obligations, and basic necessities like getting to the grocery store or the doctor’s office are getting messed up as well!

Train and bus schedules have been severely reduced and are in a constant state of flux. One study reports that since December 2021, the CTA Blue Line runs less than 55% of its scheduled trains. It’s supposed to run every 6 minutes, but it’s now common to wait 20 minutes or longer for a train. Riders are often frustrated by “ghost” trains and buses&emdash;those displayed on the CTA’s schedule tracking system, but which never show up. The CTA even runs customer alerts on a never-ending loop, apologizing in advance for “longer-than-usual” wait times.

One Blue Line train was recently disabled en route by what the operator described as a “power problem.” This train required repeated unscheduled station stops for 15 minutes and longer. Finally, midway through its route, all passengers were told to exit the train onto the platform and make alternate arrangements to get to their destination. And to top it off, the train going in the opposite direction was also disabled!

Earlier in the year, the CTA received millions in Federal money supposedly to “maintain service levels”. But current service levels are often less than half what they used to be. And we know from past experience, a large percentage of these millions will go into the coffers of big companies, contractors, and developers. Despite these millions, the quality of service continues to get worse.