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Chicago Transit Authority

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), founded on October 1st, 1947, provides bus and light rail mass transit services to the citizens of Chicago.

Table of contents
1 General
2 History
3 Operations and Service Area
4 Chicago Transit Board
5 Revenue
6 Employment


Chicago Transit Authority Merchandise Mart Plaza P.O. Box 3555 Chicago, IL 60654 Tel: 312-664-7200 Fax: 312-321-0394


In 1914, all of the local street railways, consolidated to become Chicago Surface Lines (CSL). In 1924, another amalgam of small companies, made up of Chicago and South Side Rapid Transit Co. (formed in 1892), Lake Street Elevated Railroad Co. (1893), Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railroad Co. (1895), and Northwestern Elevated Railroad Co. (1900), all consolidated to form the Chicago Rapid Transit Company (CRT). These two consolidated companies eventually became the foundation for the CTA.

The CTA was created by an act of the Illinois legislature, at the time of its formation it assumed operation of most of the city's local transportation services after it acquired the properties of the Chicago Surface Lines and the Chicago Rapid Transit Company.

Operations and Service Area

The CTA operates the second largest public transportation system in the United States and covers the City of Chicago and 40 surrounding suburbs. On an average weekday, 1.5 million rides are taken on the CTA.

CTA has approximately 2,000 buses that operate over 148 routes and 2,273 route miles. Buses provide about 1 million passenger trips a day and serve more than 12,000 posted bus stops. CTA's 1,190 rapid transit cars operate over seven routes and 222 miles of track. CTA trains provide about 500,000 customer trips each day and serve 144 stations.

Chicago is one of the few cities in the world that provides rapid transit service to two major airports. From the downtown area the CTA's Blue Line takes customers to O'Hare International Airport in about 40 minutes and the Orange Line takes customers to Midway Airport in about 30 minutes.

Chicago Transit Board

The governing arm of the CTA is the Chicago Transit Board. The board consists of seven members appointed by the Mayor of Chicago and the Governor of Illinois. The Mayor's appointees are subject to the approval of the Governor and the Chicago City Council; the Governor's appointees are subject to the approval of the Mayor and the Illinois State Senate. CTA's day-to-day operations are directed by its President.


The CTA generates revenue from farebox collections and also receives supplemental funding for operating expenses from the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA).

CTA Budget 2003 Operating Budget $925 million Capital Budget $539 million

CTA Budget 2002  
Operating Budget $915 million 
Capital Budget $495 million 
CTA Budget 2001  
Operating Budget $869 million 
Capital Budget $477 million 
CTA Budget 2000  
Operating Budget $841 million 
Capital Budget $409 million 
CTA Budget 1999  
Operating Budget $795.9 million 
Capital Budget $235.0 million 


More than 11,000 employees

Chicago Transit Authority was the original name of the rock band Chicago, as well as the title of their first album. They changed their name when the actual transit authority threatened legal action.