CTA technology upgrade means fewer bus supervisors

The Chicago Transit Authority today announced a series of upgrades in its bus tracking and communications systems that boost efficiency for the agency but do away with the agency's stationary bus supervisors.

The move is slated to save the agency $1.5 million, says CTA spokeswoman Sheila Gregory. The staff cuts will happen through attrition, not layoffs.

Its unclear how long it will take for the authority to maximize the savings.

"We'll just be able to downsize that staff and reassign some of the positions," she says. "No one's losing their jobs, but as people retire or leave, they won't be replaced."

Next month, the remaining bus supervisors will trade in their clipboards and pencils for GPS-enabled phones and wireless laptops, akin to the ones currently installed in Chicago Police Department vehicles.

They will also have access to a new, system-wide communication program, the Supervisor Information Management System, which will enable supervisors to track multiple buses at the same time, respond to delays faster and speed up communications with the CTA's Control Center.

CTA officials today also: 
  • Announced the expansion of the authority's Bus Tracker program, which allows riders to access the CTA's global positioning system (GPS) online, in real-time. Fifteen new routes will be added to the system on July 21, bringing the total number of integrated routes up to 67. The new routes will include: #7 Harrison, #8 Halsted, #10 Museum of Science & Industry, #12 Roosevelt , #17 Westchester, #18 16th/18th, #38 Ogden/Taylor, #52 Kedzie/California, #125 Water Tower Express, #126 Jackson, #129 West Loop/South Loop, #146 Inner Drive/Michigan Express, #147 Outer Drive Express, #148 Clarendon/Michigan Express and the #156 LaSalle.
  • Began a project tht involves shutting down the Blue Line's O'Hare station. From now through Sunday, July 27, crews will be working to replace deteriorated rail, ties, tie plates and spikes. That means that the Blue Line leaving the Loop will only go as far as the Rosemont station, at which time riders en route to O'Hare will need to transfer to CTA shuttle buses. Customers leaving O'Hare will be able to board CTA shuttle buses at the Bus Shuttle Centers located in the airport's lower level near the flight arrivals area in terminals 1, 2 and 3. The bus shuttles will run 24 hours a day.

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