Friday, April 08, 2005

CTA riders restless

If the State of Illinois can't find more money, the CTA is threatening fair increases and/or service cuts. See the Chicago Tribune (Jon Hilkevitch).

Since fairs just increased recently ($1.50==>$1.75 and $1.80==>$2.00 for a transfer) it seems there shouldn't be another fair increase.

As someone who uses the bus less than the "L", I'm probably not as rigid about defending cuts in bus service as people who rely on the bus. However, some of the cuts that generate opposition are reasonable cuts and the objections are reactions to the symbolism.

For example, I remember the West Side generated significant noise over the CTA wanting to cut the Washington bus. The CTA figured having a parallel bus on Madison, one block away, would still meet the needs of the community. If you think about it, having six busses per hour on Madison is better than having four per hour on both Washington and Madison, unless you're in the bus driver union.

That said, the current shortfall is huge. The cuts needed to cover this will require cutting more than redundant bus lines. But transportation advocates need to be reasonable too. As the metro area changes new routes are needed and old routes become obsolete.

I stand by my earlier statement:
If the choice is

A. raise CTA fares
B. tax software

I'll support B.

But if the choice is

A. raise CTA fares
B. tax software
C. repeal Blagojevich's tax pledge
D. something else, like cancel Peotone spending

C or D seem at least as good as B.

6 Comments:

Blogger Bill Baar said...

CTA needs to go where people want to go.. it needs expansion to the west especially.

6:36 AM  
Blogger Carl Nyberg said...

I lived in the Washington, DC area when expanding rapid transit was being debated.

In Maryland there were two options being considered for the purple line that would go around DC and serve Maryland communities.

The inner purple line would be inside the existing coverage and go slower. It was intended to provide intra Maryland transportation to communities that already used the system extensively.

The outer purple line would connect the farthest out stations and travel at a higher average rate of speed. It was conceived as park-and-ride commuter option.

Virginia OTOH chose not to go with expanding track, but instead expanding its high-speed bus network. VA figured this would be cheaper and it could make the service available sooner. And it was more flexible.

Bill, how would you expand public transportation in the west 'burbs?

8:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

High speed bus service would not be feasible in most areas of Chicago. Where could the buses run where they could go "high speed" other than to build an extremely expensive infrastructure like the "L"? But I agree, bus service is the cheapest and most flexible way of serving a new public transit market.

What is the farebox recovery of the 3 RTA transit agencies? ISTR Metra recovers 55 cents on the dollar from the farebox. If CTA is underperforming in this regard, it's going to be a hard sell in Springfield to re-allocate the budget in CTA's favor, and to shortchange Metra and Pace in the process.

11:14 PM  
Blogger Bill Baar said...

We need to think about building the O'hare line out to Woodfield and beyond. The plan is there and worht noting Schamburg (I think was not opposed either). This should keep going all the way to Elgin.

What we really need is to integrate the CTA and RTA into a general comprehensive strategy... My kid is at NIU at Dekalb and it frosts me those kids can't take the train from Dekalb into the city. The station and tracks are there... RTA will expand too Elburn soon but cross into Dekalb county and politics intefers...

I'm ranting...just rolled out of bed and haven't had my coffee yet.

7:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If push came to shove, the CTA could come up with a plan that carried a little pain for everybody but one that was reasonable. This would be a combination of fare increases, service cuts on less-utilized routes, and layoffs/staff reductions, especially among administrative staff. Several months ago one of the major Chicago dailies carried a first page article on CTA staffing under Kruesi, describing what sounded like incredible patronage and overstaffing in CTA administration. The governor is apparently too scared of Daley to
raise this as an issue, but somebody should.

In recent years I have taken the CTA frequently, as well as buses,
and they are almost empty in the middle of the day. An example:
at most times of the day the bus that goes from the Ridgeland L up Ridgeland and up Narragansett has almost nobody on it in mid-morning.
There are probably multiple other examples of routes that could be slightly reduced without causing undue disruption to CTA patrons.

It is also important that taxpayers not allow themselves to be held up by the bus driver unions and by the CTA administration. That is what is occurring now-really tacky scare tactics.

9:23 AM  
Anonymous Matt Lefko said...

I want to reiterate thet last anonymous comment. I saw that same article in the tribune and heard hide nor hair of it on any local media. A front page article showing a doubling, yes an f-ing doubling of the administrative staff under the current director, and no mention anywhere else? I calculated that a mere 30K per the 700 extra employees, you would save 21 mil right off the bat. If these jobs pay more, you'll save more. And why on earth would the CTA need double the administrative staff to handle what has pretty much been the same number of routes for some time? Grrrr. The madness. I mean the front page of the tribune, and it just disappeared. No one talks about it.

8:24 PM  

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