CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- If you’ve been among the few who have been taking CTA and Pace buses since April, get ready to begin paying fares again.
The CTA and Pace started giving free rides as a way to protect riders and drivers from spreading the coronavirus; and the CTA had riders boarding buses through rear door throughout the COVID-19 pandemic
Now, the free rides and the rear-door boarding is coming to an end. Starting Sunday, the CTA will require riders to enter buses through the front door and pay fares. Pace will have resume collecting fares Monday.
According to the CTA, in addition to the rear-boarding that began in April, the agency has provided masks to all drivers and requires all riders to wear masks. The CTA has also implemented new cleaning technology and has plexiglass separating drivers from riders.
The CTA limits the number of passengers on buses to no more than 15 on normal, 40-foot buses and no more than 22 on the 60-foot articulated buses. The transit agency also has a ridership information dashboard on its website that shows when buses are the most crowded to help people choose a better time to travel.
Pace has also added additional safety measures including vinyl barriers to protect both drivers and riders.
According to the Tribune, transit agencies saw a sharp drop in ridership as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the state’s stay-at-home order, but passengers have begun to slowly return.
Pace ridership has gone from from being down to 75 percent of normal in April to being down 60 percent in the last week, according to spokeswoman Maggie Daly Skogsbakken. While CTA ridership is down about 80 percent.
More information on CTA’s efforts throughout the pandemic is available at transitchicago.com/coronavirus.