Thursday, April 14, 2005

CTA fare increases

It's lousy public policy. And it's bullshit that Rod's "no tax increase" pledge takes priority over public transportation.

But if public transit fares are gonna increase, let's pass the cost on to employers.

Employers will be required to pay for fare cards to get to and from work.


Blogger Roy said...

As a CTA rider I wouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth, but this idea does seem a little half-baked.

1:18 PM  
Blogger Carl Nyberg said...

How so?

1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


What's happened to you? You're not working for Blagojevich are you?

2:12 PM  
Blogger Roy said...

Commuting is one of the concerns in choosing where you live. It's not the employer's problem if you decide to live down the red line and your fares get increased. Not to mention that this benefit would probably come out of your pay somehow or another anyway. Furthermore, why shouldn't employers pay for workers to drive to work? Oh wait, they do! That's what you can do with that money they give you.

Like I said, I ride the CTA and don't agree with many of the proposed solutions, but the "pass the cost onto [people who aren't me]" approach is just a tad specious.

2:19 PM  
Blogger Carl Nyberg said...

Passing the cost along to "not me".

Isn't that exactly what's happening to CTA riders?

Has operating the CTA become more expensive? Is ridership down?

These cost increases are driven by state government failing to deal with its health care and pension costs. Blagojevich and the pols would rather stick it to CTA riders than get their own house in order.

5:54 PM  
Blogger Carl Nyberg said...

I haven't been posting so much cuz Dick Mell was late with my check for the month.

5:55 PM  
Blogger Bill Baar said...

Pass it on to the employers and they just leave the city.

6:40 PM  
Blogger Carl Nyberg said...

I'd throw Metra into the equation to.

Metra rides cost more than the CTA, right?

7:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I absolutely agree that part of the problem is the guv's failure
to deal with pension and health care costs in state government. The pension reform commission actually made some sensible suggestions, many of which the guv rejected because he is terrified of losing the union vote or the state employee vote, assuming he even has the votes of these sectors.

Does anybody really believe that the electorate is going to support Blago's Repub opponent because Blago cuts government a little more or makes state employees and teachers, currently the beneficiaries of huge disparities between public and private pensions, pay a little more towards their health insurance and their pensions.

As to income tax increases, if they have to happen, why not limit the increase to Illinois households with income over $200,000. A 1 or 2 percent increase on this group, which can easily afford it, could go a long way towards reducing the deficit, especially if combined with real pension funding reforms, further reductions in state government rolls, especially administrative positions and obsolete jobs at all levels, and other similar strategies.

2:31 AM  
Blogger Carl Nyberg said...

Illinois has a flat tax written into the Constitution, so a targeted tax increase has constitutional hurdles. While the Illinois Supreme Court has ruled parts of the Illinois Constitution optional, I don't think they'll go this route with kvetching millionnaires.

Roy, BTW, the most recent CTA cost-cutting proposal will increase waits by an average of 68%.

Wait for busses and trains an average of 68% longer or have Blagojevich "bite the bullet" and raise taxes?

9:06 AM  
Blogger Roy said...

If they made waits 68% longer with no corresponding schedule, than I would buy some long underwear and use my bike year round!

11:20 AM  
Blogger Carl Nyberg said...

Roy, not everybody can live close to work.

What about people making under $12/hour that work Downtown?

Is there enough low-cost housing for them within biking distance to Downtown?

To draw on info not available on the web, you live near your work. But that's not typical in the Chicago area. Maybe it should be, but it's not.

People made choices about where to live assuming the CTA would continue to exist. Now we're facing massive service cuts and fare increases.

These cuts are not driven by the inefficiency of the CTA or declining ridership. They are driven by Springfield pols fucking-up on pensions and Washington pols fucking-up on health care.

Why should CTA riders be penalized because a bunch of powerful pols can't get their shit together?

2:58 PM  
Blogger Roy said...


There are plenty of three bedroom apartments within biking distance of the city for $800 a month or less. For me, biking distnce is 3 miiles from the loop.

Why should employees pay for pols mistakes? Your employee plan is completely unreasonable.

Furthermore, your argument that it's ok to pass the cost onto "not me" because Blago does it is contrary to spirit of the post. Wasn't this a "blunder"? If you are blogging the blunders you shouldn't cite those blunders as justification for your equally irresponsible employer tax scheme.

Also, I can't say for sure, but I think Bill Baar meant that employers would leave the city, not employees. Meaning the city would suffer, and taxing Metra would not solve that problem.

4:20 PM  
Anonymous Vasyl said...


There sure are plenty of options for a single person in good health to bike to their jobs. Unfortunately, this does not describe the majority of people who rely on the CTA for transportation. Moreover, even a single person in good health would find it difficult to bike 3 miles each way in a Chicago winter.

That aside, I have a quick observation for the people who think that CTA riders should be responsible for all of the shortfall. Public transportation in this country is not nearly as heavily subsidized as roads are.

In FY2002, the state spent $375 million on operating subsidies for public transit, and $112 million for capital outlays for public transit. In contrast, the state spent $335 million in highway maintenance, $247 million in highway construction admnistration, and $1.4 billion in highway construction. This does not include $643 million in motor fuel tax money spent on roads, and $879 million in federal money spent on road construction.

In a time of rising fuel prices and increased concerns over pollution and congestion, it seems to me that public transit should be given a preference over roads.

1:53 PM  
Blogger Roy said...


I completely agree that public transportation should receive a much higher ratio of funds compared to roads than we currently have. If I have been less than clear, I use the CTA for almost all my travels and am wary of simply raising rates as a means to generate revenue. My objection was to the employer tax scheme. It strikes me as having more to do with class warfare than really addressing the issue.

5:31 PM  
Anonymous Vasyl said...


Fair enough, and thanks for clarifying. The second part of the post wasn't really directed at your comments. You sounded like a public transit supporter. I, however, did want to clarify that not everyone has realistic alternatives to the CTA.

5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would be willing to support an increase in CTA funding if:

1) Carole Brown resigns or is fired.

2) Frank Kruesi resigns or is fired.

These individuals are incompetent Daley hacks. I mean, really resign, not just go to another lucrative no-work job in the CTA; and

3) 25% of the administrative staff are fired or, if they are qualified, reassigned to drive a bus. Again, I mean, fired, not reassigned to another job description at equivalent or higher pay.

If Brown and Kruesi were CEO's in the private sector they'd be gone already. They have seriously mismanaged public monies by failure to plan, larding up the agency with administrators, and in so many other ways.

Appoint somebody who understands public transportation and cares about it enough to make sure that these types of crises don't happen.

4:25 AM  

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