Cta Hopes To Win Back Chicago Riders After Pandemic Slump

CHICAGO (AP) — Commuters returning to the buses and trains run by the Chicago Transit Authority will be greeted by employee volunteers acting as “ambassadors,” part of a campaign to bring riders back as coronavirus restrictions end.

The CTA launched the campaign in May but said Friday's declaration that Chicago is fully reopen cued this latest step.

“The pandemic required many of our customers to work remotely, socially distance and stay at home for more than a year," President Dorval Carter said in a statement. "Now that the city is opening up, we want to warmly welcome customers back and remind them that CTA is the convenient, affordable and safe choice to get around the city.”

Chicago officials ended a requirement that people wear face masks in most indoor places and lifting capacity limits intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The CTA also is lifting capacity limits on buses and trains. All passengers must continue to wear masks onboard, including those who are fully vaccinated.

The ambassadors will be able to answer users' questions and provide information about the CTA's cleaning routine.

Use of the public transit system plummeted at the start of the coronavirus pandemic and has yet to recover. The CTA also has offered discounts on some passes and promoting repairs in the works at rail stations.

Carter said it's all designed to make returning riders “feel at home.”