Public Outreach Campaign

Spreading the message that transit is the answer to the most urgent challenges facing our region, in an effort to build a coalition fighting for sustainable transit funding.

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Transit plays an essential role in the lives of millions of riders across the Chicago region and has the potential to reach even more people with stable funding. Historic underfunding of the system has been exacerbated in recent years because of pandemic-induced changes in travel patterns that have resulted in drops in ridership and fare revenues.

Chicago’s transit agencies—CTA, Metra, and Pace—have responded with new fare products, schedules, and service models and have seen ridership grow steadily back. The system is providing over 1 million rides each weekday, continuing transit’s role as an essential component of the region’s transportation network, economy, and quality of life.

While significant ridership recovery has occurred, changes in remote and hybrid work are projected to result in lower levels of ridership for the remainder of the decade compared to 2019. Beginning in 2026, the RTA system is facing a projected $730 million annual operating budget gap, which is expected to grow as expenses increase.

Drastic fare increases and service cuts won’t solve a problem of this magnitude—the system requires funding, reform, and policy changes that make transit a more competitive travel option. Additionally, a smaller, less affordable system will hurt businesses, job growth, climate, and equity in the region, making Chicagoland less attractive nationally for residents and employers. Many more residents will be forced to drive, increasing transportation costs, congestion, and regional greenhouse gas emissions. Immediate action and reform are necessary.

Building off the region’s transit strategic plan, Transit is the Answer, RTA has developed a public outreach campaign focused on spreading the message that transit is the answer to the most urgent challenges facing our region. The campaign takes the shape of a series of videos telling real-life stories about how transit supports the regional economy, mitigates climate change, and provides affordable access to education and jobs. View all the mini-documentaries below.

Better access to education at Harper College

Sallaria Ansong, a student at Harper College, and Doctor Avis Proctor, president of Harper College, share how important Pace bus routes are to providing affordable access to education in Palatine.

Cleaner air for the community in Chicago’s Little Village

José Acosta from the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization shares how transit is the answer for cleaner air in Little Village and for its residents.

Sustainable climate action in Geneva

Mayor Kevin Burns from Geneva shares how transit is a critical aspect of sustainable climate action for all municipalities around Chicago.

Helping small businesses thrive in Chicago

Tamar Mizrahi, owner of the Goddess and Baker, talks about how transit plays a critical role in attracting customers and retaining employees at all of her locations.

Connecting people to jobs in Markham

Boniface Okorie from Markham’s Amazon fulfillment center shares how he relies on Pace Route 364 to get to work every day.

Commuting more affordably in Chicago

Daniel Owings takes both Metra and CTA each day to get to and from work. Learn how he uses the Regional Connect Pass to save money while helping his household run smoother.