Adapting to changing travel patterns and workforce challenges
22 RTA 1337

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Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Chicagoland’s relationship with transit has changed. Continued remote work trends mean that people are riding transit less frequently, and riders are relying on service outside rush hour more than before. Learn more about ridership trends from the RTA’s State of Transit Dashboard.

The entire transportation industry — both locally and nationally — faces significant workforce challenges, meaning that reliable service is more difficult to achieve. As the needs of our riders and labor force change, so too must our plan for the future of regional transit. This is why adapting bus and rail service to meet the changing needs of riders is a key component of the advocacy and action agenda featured in Transit is the Answer. For the system to continue to grow and thrive, transit operators will need to prioritize ensuring riders can access transit when they need it for work, school, and other essential and social trips.

At the same time, transit systems are facing impending budget gaps as federal COVID-19 relief dollars run out. Without advocating on the state and federal level and working together to fund transit operations differently while simultaneously committing to fundamental improvements, our regional transit system's operating budgets will hit a $730 million fiscal cliff in 2026. It is critical to forge a fundamental change in how we fund transit that is less reliant on fares and recognizes the extraordinary value — the inherent public good — that a well-funded and well managed transit system brings

Funding Challenges

Rider Experience