Friday, June 19, 2020

Tribune: CTA and Pace buses will begin collecting fares again, as riders slowly return to public transit

If you've gotten used to boarding the rear of a CTA bus during the course of this coronavirus pandemic, that time is ending. If you enjoyed avoiding paying your fare, especially for those of you who prefer to pay with cash as opposed to using a ventra card those days are about to end.
In another sign that things are getting closer to normal in the Chicago area, the CTA and Pace will start collecting bus fares again, and the CTA will end rear-door boarding.

The CTA will require customers to enter buses via the front door and pay fares starting Sunday, while the Pace suburban bus service resumes fare collections Monday.

Both agencies had waived fare collection as a way to protect operators and passengers from the coronavirus. But since the agency started rear-door boarding in April, the state and the agency have adopted other ways of keeping people safe, including providing masks for all drivers, requiring that passengers be masked, and implementing new cleaning technology, said CTA spokesman Brian Steele.

The agency limits the number of passengers on buses to no more than 15 people on a 40-foot bus and no more than 22 on a 60-foot bus. The CTA also has a ridership information dashboard on its website that shows when buses are the most crowded to help people choose a better time to travel.

Keith Hill, president of the bus drivers’ union, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 241, said his group agreed with the resumption of front-door boarding. Hill noted the CTA had agreed to increase the “standee line,” or how far passengers have to stand back from drivers, to more than six feet.
In addition to outdoor dining, opening the lakefront, even allowing businesses that provide such services as barbers, pedicures, tatoos, etc to reopen it's a start!