As the coronavirus continues to spread, the Chicago Transit Authority is announcing additional safety measures for its employees and riders to promote social distancing, including rear-door boarding on buses effective Thursday.
Customers will be directed to board and exit through rear doors rather than the front, with the exception of passengers who require assistance from the front-door lift. To board, customers will have to manually open the rear doors from the outside, since most can’t be opened automatically by drivers.
The CTA is in the process of moving farecard readers to the rear doors of buses in order to collect fares. Fares won’t be collected from passengers who board buses not yet equipped with rear readers, the CTA said.
To manage crowding, the CTA has issued guidelines for rider limits: no more than 15 passengers on a standard 40-foot bus and no more than 22 passengers on 60-foot articulated accordion-style buses. Once ridership reaches these numbers, drivers have the authority to bypass stops for passenger pickup, running in “drop-off only” mode. Buses will make all stops requested by riders.
According to a statement from the transit agency, the new, temporary procedures are designed to protect CTA employees, first responders who rely on public transportation to get to work every day, and other transit customers, particularly those on the South and West sides of Chicago, who represent the highest level of ridership across the system during the stay at home order.
Customers using CTA for travel other than work are being encouraged to plan essential trips outside the traditional peak rush periods (7-9:30 a.m. and 3:30-6 p.m.) and to allow for extra travel time.