Recent Rail Service Schedule Optimization Providing More Consistent and Reliable Service
Changes have led to fewer instances of long waits between trains on Red and Blue Lines
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) today announced that it recently made temporary changes to its rail schedules on select routes intended to provide better, more reliable service throughout the day and throughout the week.
This schedule optimization aims to accomplish three goals:
- Align scheduled service with available workforce
- Provide more consistent intervals between trains during weekdays and weekends
- Reduce instances of large or inconsistent gaps in services
These schedule changes will address one of the most frequent comments CTA has received from its customers: the unpredictability of wait times. The early results of the changes are showing success:
- On the Blue Line during weekdays, instances of large gaps in service—more than triple the scheduled interval—dropped 64 percent, from 14 to five instances.
- On the Red Line, large gaps dropped from 10 to six instances, or a 40 percent decrease.
Instances of intervals that are double the scheduled interval, during the morning and afternoon rush hours, have also dropped:
- Blue Line AM: from 12 to 9.7 each day
- Blue Line PM: from 14.9 to 6.5 each day
- Red Line AM: from 11.8 to 6.1 each day
- Red Line PM: from 9.8 to 7.1 each day
“These numbers show that trains are arriving on a more consistent, even basis—offering improved reliability, which is customers have asked for and what we promised,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “To be clear, this is just a start: We recognize there is more work to do. But we are moving in the right direction and will continue to make additional adjustments to continue to improve service. Our ultimate goal is to build back our workforce to provide all the transit service our customers deserve.”
The rail schedule optimizations, which took effect in mid-August, seek to align scheduled service with currently available workforce. Service hours—known as span of service—have not changed. What has changed is certain trips that were previously scheduled—but could not occur because of lack of staff--have been temporarily removed from the schedules and remaining trips have been re-spaced until more personnel are available. The changes were along the Red, Blue, Orange, Purple and Brown lines and aligns with the service that was being delivered.
Since implementation on select routes, scheduled rail service has had more even service throughout the day, which more closely aligns to the updated schedules.
A secondary and important benefit of these optimizations is improvement in Train Tracker accuracy, and it is anticipated that customers will see fewer instances of “ghost trains” on these optimized schedules. CTA continues to explore other improvements to Train Tracker to further enhance the reliability and accuracy of this critical tool. These changes are the latest in a series of initiatives introduced in the past month in support of the Meeting the Moment: Transforming CTA’s Post-Pandemic Future Action Plan, which was unveiled last month. The multifaceted plan focuses on responding to customers’ concerns and strengthening the foundations of the rider experience, while addressing the workforce challenges faced by the entire transportation industry.
Like transit agencies across the country, the CTA has experience staffing issues during the pandemic, due to both illness and position vacancies that have been challenging to fill. When there aren’t enough workers, CTA can’t run all the trains it has scheduled—which can lead to longer wait times between trains, and inconsistent service.
The CTA continues to pursue aggressive hiring strategies and other schedule changes to benefit both rail and bus customers. The agency will also continue to make nimble schedule adjustments to rail and bus networks in the coming months and improve customer experience.
To learn more about the changes, as well as plans for future improvements to service, infrastructure and technology, visit: www.transtichicago.com/meetingthemoment
With the launch of its Smart Assistance Manager (SAM), ComEd has made it easier for families and individuals to access customized financial- assistance options, as well as programs to help them manage their electric bills.
SAM is an online self-service tool for all residential customers that finds and displays support options based on their household information, such as energy usage and billing history. Customers who create an online account with ComEd through the “My Account” tool can log in while using SAM to get even more personalized, targeted results.
“Previously, customers may have had to search for information to enroll in energy- assistance programs,” said Nichole Owens, ComEd’s vice president of customer channels. “With ComEd’s Smart Assistance Manager, customers can access the website – anywhere and on their own time – and be guided to the options best suited for them. What’s better, they will also be connected to the people and forms so they can get assistance as soon as possible to take advantage of them.”
SAM matches customers with the payment-assistance programs for which they may eligible
– including deferred-payment arrangements, the Percent of Income Payment Plan assistance program (PIPP) and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) – then provides guidance and links to apply.
SAM also provides recommendations on energy-efficiency offerings that can save customers money and energy, including free home energy assessments and discounts on energy-saving products.
Customers interested in accessing this free tool can visit ComEd.com/SAM.
Enhanced Bill-Assistance Options
ComEd also reminds customers about recent changes to payment features to further support customers struggling to pay their electric bills. Eligible, low-income residential customers will no longer be assessed late payment fees or deposits, and any deposits already provided to ComEd will be returned.
The company no longer assesses additional fees for any customers when they use a credit card, debit card, or electronic check to pay their ComEd bills. And, to offer more convenience, all customers can pay their ComEd bill with PayPal. More information on each of these options is available at ComEd.com/Pay.
October 21, 2021
To help eligible customers stay current on their bills, and help them avoid unnecessary fees come spring, ComEd regularly works with state and federal agencies to provide assistance options to those facing financial hardship.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federal program that can help you stay warm in during winter by providing eligible customers with a one-time payment towards your energy bills. Benefits are available once per program year, September 2021 through May 2022, or until funds are exhausted. Whether you rent or own your home, LIHEAP offers financial help to limited-income households to pay heat and electric bills.
The Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP) is a choice within Illinois LIHEAP to help manage energy bills year-round. You will be placed on a Budget Billing plan that is subsidized by a monthly PIPP benefit amount, determined by a percentage of your household income. Each month, you receive a PIPP benefit towards a portion of your Budget Bill amount. If an on-time and in-full payment is received, you may also receive a monthly arrearage credit, if applicable.
Applications for LIHEAP and PIPP can be submitted online, by phone or in person and are available at your Local Administering Agency. Visit LIHEAPillinois.com for details. Prefer to call instead? Residents of Chicago and Cook County can call 800-571-2332 for information. Residents of other counties may call 877-411-9276.
PIPP funds available now!
Stay current on your ComEd bill with help from state-funded PIPP. Apply now through March 31, 2022. Open to eligible customers on a first-come first-served basis while funds are available. We’re here to help when you need it most. Apply today.
LIHEAP helps with your ComEd bill.
Federal-funded LIHEAP helps eligible customers pay their energy bills. Applications being taken now through May 31, 2022. Funds are awarded on a first-come first-served basis while available. We’re here to help when you need it most. Apply today.
Are you in need of dementia and Alzheimer’s care homes for your elderly parents or family members? If so, then you have come to the right place for information. If you are trying to find a memory care facility, then this is probably your first time having to do so. Well, you are not alone, and we are here to help you out by giving you as much information as possible.
Dealing with a loved one who is struggling with dementia or Alzheimer’s can be a difficult thing for a family to have to do, however, finding and paying for a facility where your loved one can get the care they need, doesn’t have to be. In Illinois, there are a lot of great options that allow you to place your family member in an exceptional home so that they get the specialized memory care that they deserve.