News / City Life

The CTA will use those pesky ride-share fees to improve your commute

A CTA Purple Line Express train
Photograph: Ben Schumin via Wikimedia Commons

Late last year, City Council approved Mayor Rahm Emanuel's proposed 15-cent fee hike for Uber and Lyft rides, a move that promised funds to improve CTA infrastructure. After months of paying a bit more to get around town, we finally know exactly where that money is going. The CTA announced this week that it's launched FastTracks, “a comprehensive program of track repairs and maintenance designed to provide faster commutes and smoother rides for El customers.”

What's that mean for you? The CTA hopes to shave up to six minutes off your round-trip commute and reduce wait times at stations. The improvements will target the Red, Blue, Brown and Green Lines, identified as the city's busiest rails. Maintenance includes repairing and upgrading sections of rail, rail ties and electrical power.

The money to make these improvements is coming straight from your wallet; the city will back the project with a $179 million investment funded by that 15-cent ride-share fee. The Green Line is up first, with crews working on sections of the rail south of 35th Street. Here's a quick look at other projects that will be scheduled through 2021. 

  • Green Line South (between 18th and 35th Streets; between 35th and 59th Streets; and along the Cottage Grove and Ashland branches)
  • Green and Pink Lines (between Clinton Street and Ashland Avenue)
  • Blue Line O’Hare branch (electrical power improvements)
  • Red and Blue Line subways (State and Dearborn Streets)
  • Blue Line Congress branch (Clinton to Forest Park)
  • Brown Line (between Southport and Western Avenues)
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