CTA cuts jobs, overtime, other costs to cover big budget gap
Rising gas prices and unfunded state mandates for free rides -- among other things -- have forced the CTA to cut at least 80 administrative jobs, defer 2008 spending, cut overtime and reduce bus maintenance costs.
But -- for now -- the good news is there will be no fare increases or services cuts. For now -- meaning 2008. We'll have to see what the 2009 budget brings.
The jobs cuts and other savings are expected to save $40 million this year. But CTA Board Chairwoman Carole Brown warns that the CTA is "preparing people for what will be a very difficult 2009 budget season." Gulp.
The CTA press release says fuel costs "will be $37.3 million higher than last year; the loss of the reduced fare subsidy will be $16 million; the free ride program will cost at least $20 million this year, and the RTA has reported that tax proceeds are coming in lower than projected."
Other cost cutting initiatives already underway include:
- deferring contract spending for non critical needs;
- changing the labor mix to reduce reliance on overtime;
- reducing bus maintenance costs through fleet upgrades and more efficient preventative maintenance practices; and
- using technology to improve the efficiency of bus supervision, making supervisors mobile instead of stationary.
The CTA is especially hurt by all the free rides it must give, combined with lower projected revenue from tax increases due to an economic slowdown.