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CTA struggles with bus cleanliness, rail delays

The CTA has not been meeting its monthly targets for bus cleanliness and rail delays, according to performance metrics released Tuesday.

The agency scored 73.5 out of 100 on its bus cleanliness inspection in March, the most recent data available. During March, the agency also recorded 113 rail delays of 10 minutes or more, the third straight month of logging more than 100 of these delays.

The CTA blamed the bus score on more stringent cleaning standards adopted in July. Since October, the CTA has increased the amount of time it spends deep cleaning buses from 2 1/2 hours once a month to four hours for 40-foot buses and six hours for 60-foot buses. The agency is trying to deep clean buses every 14 days, CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said.

The March score of 73.5 is a fall from the February score of 79. The agency's monthly target is 85. Its 2012 average score was 76.4.

"We're not there yet. We're playing catch-up," Chase said. "Everything is cleaned: The walls, the ceiling, little area crevices. It's actually getting in there with cleaners and polishers."

On the rail side, the CTA said the Wells Street Bridge project, which required Brown Line reroutes as the city overhauled the bridge, contributed to the 113 train delays of 10 minutes or more in March.

The agency blamed defective doors, sick passengers and riders using the operator call button for the 103 rail delays in February.

Defective equipment on the older rail cars and problems with spacing trains were behind the 120 delays in January, the CTA said. In December, the CTA implemented a decrowding plan that increased rail trips during rush hour on all lines except the Yellow and Pink lines.

The agency's monthly goal is to see 78 or fewer lengthy rail delays. It last achieved this goal in April 2012, when it logged 77 of these delays.

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