CTA announces free face mask pilot program

Dec. 30, 2020
The authority installed new mask dispensers on buses as part of its continued focus on healthy commutes.

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has begun a pilot program to provide free, disposable face masks on CTA buses, as part of its continuing efforts to promote a healthy travel environment.

Initially, the pilot program will feature disposable mask dispensers on 200 buses serving 20 bus routes serving all areas of the city, including high ridership routes such as the #56 Milwaukee, #91 Austin and #77 Belmont. The disposable masks will be available from dispensers placed at the front of the bus, near where customers board. 

“Since the start of the pandemic, my number one focus has been to provide the healthiest travel environment for our customers and employees,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “This new pilot program reflects our unwavering commitment to seek out new tools and ideas to help keep everyone healthy during this ongoing pandemic.” 

The pilot will allow CTA to assess a variety of factors, including demand for masks and logistics for replenishing stock on buses that are out in service all day. If successful, the program will later expand to the remainder of CTA’s buses serving all 129 routes, as well as rail stations. The free mask pilot is the latest among numerous steps the agency has taken to promote a healthy and safe travel environment. 

The CTA has implemented and expanded a rigorous cleaning regimen for buses, trains and stations, with greatly expanded resources dedicated to cleaning and disinfecting—including new technologies like electrostatic sprayers. CTA continues to run as much service as possible to provide adequate space for social distancing, and has created online dashboards to help customers determine the least-crowded times to travel.