Games Learning Resources Visit the Museum
America on the Move
Collection Exhibition Themes
Return Arts and Leisure Communities Immigration and Migration Making the Exhibition Technology Work and Industry Other Topics Guest Curators

1947: The Chicago Transit Authority
 

When Private Went Public

In 1947, the City of Chicago purchased the rapid transit company and most of the surface lines and consolidated them under the newly-formed Chicago Transit Authority. This was the culmination of more than 20 years of “traction wars” and political wrestling in Chicago. The CTA was formed as a quasi-public body—given no power to tax, and no subsidization.

John Caprino, Cook County Clerk, Recording CTA Purchase of Surface and Rail Transit Lines on September 30th, 1947.

Courtesy of Chicago Transit Authority
John Caprino, Cook County Clerk, Recording CTA Purchase of Surface and Rail Transit Lines on September 30th, 1947. Courtesy of Chicago Transit Authority

When the Chicago Transit Authority was created in 1947, transit ownership shifted from private to public control. But—unlike automobility—transit at that time was required to be financially self-sufficient.

All maintenance and upgrades had to be paid for out of the fare box—out of the pockets of transit riders. This resulted in constantly increasing fares and some service cutbacks. Still, a high rate of Loop commuters—80% by one account—used some form of mass transit in the mid-1950s.

Previous Page
Next Page
National Museum of American History About This Site | Sponsors | Buy the Book | E-mail Signup | Credits