CHICAGO (WBBM) — Chicago-area transit riders are nearing the day when they’ll be able to find out easily how far away the next train or bus is on any bus, ‘L’ or train line.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Bob Roberts reports, CTA has fully implemented its Bus Tracker system, and a similar Train Tracker is in testing stages. Metra also has been testing a train tracker system.

All CTA, Pace and Metra equipment is tracked by global positioning technology, which their control centers can access.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bob Roberts reports

Regional Transportation Authority Chairman John Gates said the work that remains is mostly coordinating what the public can see.

“Nobody else, I don’t think, is that far along,” Gates said. “We have most of the pieces but we just need to bring them together. to get this capability which, I think, will be very popular with our customers.”

The RTA would like to achieve better coordination — and cost-savings — in other areas, as well.

Work continues toward achieving a 30-year goal and developing a universal fare card, probably credit-card based; CTA leads that effort. Metra is asking potential vendors for estimates on installing Wi-Fi capability on its trains.

Gates also hopes to prioritize capital projects at the CTA, Metra and Pace based on cost-benefit analyses. The RTA has looked on and off for years at opportunities to buy fuel as a group, instead of separately at each agency, and board members would like to revisit the idea.

It has failed in the past because, although each agency burns large amounts of diesel fuel, the types of diesel fuel differ.

Board members also suggested looking at joint insurance purchases, and closer coordination of lobbying efforts.

“Broadly, our goals are all the same,” Costello said.

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