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Chiberia takes toll on CTA bus service

Blame it on the rain, errr, sleet and snow.

CTA bus ridership fell in February because of record cold and snowy weather, which also took a toll on the CTA's bus fleet and the timing of bus arrivals that month, according to a performance report the agency posted this week.

There were 21.8 million bus rides taken in February, up from 20.5 million in January but down from 23.7 million rides in February 2013, according to CTA data. Bus ridership was down 12 percent in January and February compared to the same period last year.

Chicago Public Schools closed for a few days because of the cold, and some businesses voluntarily shut down during that time, which decreased ridership, CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said.

Rail ridership was not as affected by the cold. January and February exceeded the agency's goal of 17.4 million riders. The CTA said riders seemed to opt to take trains instead of other forms of transportation.

CTA trains were still impacted by the weather, though. Nearly 13 percent of the rail fleet was unavailable for service on average in February, up from 9 percent in February 2013. The CTA's 2014 target is 11 percent.

The agency blamed this number on its heavy use of "sleet fighter" rail cars to apply de-icing fluid to the third rail.

On the bus side, about 14 percent of the CTA's bus fleet was unavailable for service on average in February, up from 11 percent in February 2013. The agency's 2014 target is 12.6 percent.

The CTA also had a problem with large gaps in bus service, which it blamed on slow traffic because of the weather.

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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