Shutting down public transit is unfair to Chicagoans who need it most
Public transit provides access to opportunity for thousands of working-class Chicagoans. Buses, trains, paratransit and bike-share services connect people to their jobs, health care appointments, grocery stores and families. When all that’s taken away, riders are cut off from where they need to go, or forced to pay much more for a taxi or ride-hail trip.
The repeated evening and overnight shutdowns of CTA, Divvy, and paratransit service in the downtown area set an alarming precedent. City officials are making this call without providing the public a clear understanding of why severely limiting mobility across the city is necessary.
They say this is part of a broader strategy to “protect Chicago communities and neighborhood businesses,” but they don’t explain how shutting down transit helps achieve their goals.
The decision-making process is neither transparent nor inclusive. Think of the Roseland resident who rides the Red Line downtown to work the night shift in building maintenance or security. Or the Garfield Park resident who takes a Divvy bike to work the early shift at a Loop coffee shop. Or the Avondale resident who rides the Blue Line to work overnight at a downtown health care center or nursing home. Or the Chinatown resident with a disability who needs paratransit for any planned and unplanned trips outside the home.
Black and Brown people — who are more likely to ride transit and less likely to work a 9-to-5 job — are disproportionately impacted. The city’s most vulnerable residents without access to a car suffer the most.
Cutting off transit options for thousands of Chicagoans cannot become a regular, accepted practice. Amy Rynell, executive director, Active Transportation Alliance