Chicago isn't even among the five best cities for public transit in the country, according to a new report from Walk Score. The findings put the CTA behind New York, San Francisco, Boston, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia's transit systems, which seems criminally low.
The rankings are calculated by "summing the relative usefulness of public transit routes near a given location." In this case, "usefulness" takes into account the distance between transit routes and individual neighborhoods, the frequency of the route and whether that route is a bus or train. While there are certainly pockets of Chicago that aren't served by CTA or Metra trains, there's hardly an area of the city that isn't within four blocks of a bus route, which makes the study's conclusions seem a bit questionable.
Whether or not public transit in Chicago is better than, say, Philadelphia, the CTA could definitely use some improvements. Last month, the city took some steps in doing so by announcing the return of the four defunct bus routes. The new "Loop Link" is also expected to reduce commute times through the downtown area once it's complete early next year. But even with those improvements, progress on initiatives to extend the Red, Orange and Yellow lines are all but dead in the water. Let's not even talk about the proposed Ashland Bus Rapid Transit system.
Chicago might not have the best rapid transit system in the nation, but ours is at least a step above Boston's. I mean, have you ever tried to get around in that city after 11pm? It's a nightmare.