Record ridership strains CTA, Metra, ...

Record ridership strains CTA, Metra, Pace-and it's likely to ge...

There are 101 comments on the Chicago Tribune story from Sep 1, 2008, titled Record ridership strains CTA, Metra, Pace-and it's likely to ge.... In it, Chicago Tribune reports that:

Hop aboard the bus or train, if there's an inch of space for the doors to close, and prepare for a rough ride.

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Alan Smith

Dayton, PA

#1 Sep 1, 2008
If Huberman is concerned about his "capacity to manage and keep the new customers" he ought to find himself another job. Most public transportation officials would love to have the opportunity to manage a surge in ridership like this. To hear Huberman complain shows why the CTA is in such terrible shape.
Royer

Chicago, IL

#2 Sep 1, 2008
So wait -- the various public transportation agencies have been practically begging for more ridership for decades. And now that they have their wish, it's a problem? This is a bewildering degree of illogic even for government agencies.
Mike

Oak Park, IL

#3 Sep 1, 2008
You can't blame Huberman for not inheriting enough modern equipment to handle a huge upswing in ridership. All any manager in his situation can do is to handle it as best he can, with the resources available. I think the most telling part of his quote is "AND KEEP the new customers". It's one thing to pack in first-time riders when gas prices peak; it's a different thing entirely to convince them to leave the car in the garage daily for the next several years. Huberman is doing his job, as well as the job Kruesi should have done for the past few years, and still keeping an eye on the future of the CTA.

Since: Aug 08

Crystal Lake

#4 Sep 1, 2008
Huberman's comments were appropriate. He is only concerned about meeting an ever-increasing demand with outdated equipment.

The CTA is always trying to get more equipment and money. What should he say..."we have all we need"?
mark

Miami Beach, FL

#5 Sep 2, 2008
Ah, yes. Wait 'til the Olympics come.
Mulva

United States

#6 Sep 2, 2008
How can Daley even THINK that any federal funds Chicago will receive to improve public transport (IF we win the Olympic bid) will be adequate enough to fix these decrepit old transit lines? If it takes $25 million to just to rehab Buckingham fountain, how many hands will be in the pot, for their share of croneyism, to fix the CTA alone? It will cost billions to fix all at once, and it won't all be federal funds - Illinois taxpayers WILL pay for Daley's pet Olympic project, and unfortunately it will encompass the whole state, as it did before with the sales tax increase this past April.

Let's all hope that the IOC gets a taste of Chicago by riding the CTA during their visits, and realizes what a shambles it would be for 2016 to be here *shudders*
Tax Serf of Richie Daley

United States

#7 Sep 2, 2008
CTA train ridership is up 2% and this is called "phenomenal growth" in ridership? This sounds like a stalking horse for the CTA to ask for even more tax increases on top of the record tax increases last year in order to pay the salaries of legions of folks who do little or nothing other than mill about on train platforms talking to their friends on their cell phones.
PaulKonerkoFan

AOL

#8 Sep 2, 2008
Mike wrote:
You can't blame Huberman for not inheriting enough modern equipment to handle a huge upswing in ridership. All any manager in his situation can do is to handle it as best he can, with the resources available. I think the most telling part of his quote is "AND KEEP the new customers". It's one thing to pack in first-time riders when gas prices peak; it's a different thing entirely to convince them to leave the car in the garage daily for the next several years. Huberman is doing his job, as well as the job Kruesi should have done for the past few years, and still keeping an eye on the future of the CTA.
Exactly Mike. Huberman came aboard a train wreck and is doing his best. He has asked repeatedly for what he needs to make this work but has been turned down by our lovely Governor.
PaulKonerkoFan

AOL

#9 Sep 2, 2008
Mulva wrote:
How can Daley even THINK that any federal funds Chicago will receive to improve public transport (IF we win the Olympic bid) will be adequate enough to fix these decrepit old transit lines? If it takes $25 million to just to rehab Buckingham fountain, how many hands will be in the pot, for their share of croneyism, to fix the CTA alone? It will cost billions to fix all at once, and it won't all be federal funds - Illinois taxpayers WILL pay for Daley's pet Olympic project, and unfortunately it will encompass the whole state, as it did before with the sales tax increase this past April.
Let's all hope that the IOC gets a taste of Chicago by riding the CTA during their visits, and realizes what a shambles it would be for 2016 to be here *shudders*
They have ridden the CTA a few times, they know the problems and they also feel they can be fixed in time.
PaulKonerkoFan

AOL

#10 Sep 2, 2008
Tax Serf of Richie Daley wrote:
CTA train ridership is up 2% and this is called "phenomenal growth" in ridership? This sounds like a stalking horse for the CTA to ask for even more tax increases on top of the record tax increases last year in order to pay the salaries of legions of folks who do little or nothing other than mill about on train platforms talking to their friends on their cell phones.
Its up 6% the Trains are up 2 % Busses up 4. Thats a big Jump.
Erickson

Chicago, IL

#11 Sep 2, 2008
Certainly you can't mean that CTA has not had a capital budget to purchase rail cars since 1969? No capital budget for the last four decades? Certainly you can't mean that CTA has never had a sinking fund (do they know what one is?) for rail car and bus purchases and this problem occurred overnight with no foresight? And now the taxpayers will be asked to finance this incredible lack of management knowledge and skills to pay for what should have been annual expenditures for nearly 40 years. Maybe it's time to sell the CTA to a private company that actually has some management know-how.
Tax Serf of Richie Daley

United States

#13 Sep 2, 2008
PaulKonerkoFan wrote:
<quoted text>
Its up 6% the Trains are up 2 % Busses up 4. Thats a big Jump.
When is the CTA EVER going to announce increases in operating EFFICIENCY rather than hold up taxpayers for more and more tax increases or do you think that the CTA operates like a Swiss watch? Until they manage and operate the CTA better, more hard earned tax dollars going to the CTA is like pitching money in down a rat hole.
Ratty

United States

#15 Sep 2, 2008
Forget mass transit and get a Bradley Fighting Vehicle. While the mileage is only so so, the fact that you have at your disposal a high velocity 20mm cannon more than makes up for it.

Since: Oct 07

Chicago, IL

#18 Sep 2, 2008
Tax Serf of Richie Daley wrote:
<quoted text>
When is the CTA EVER going to announce increases in operating EFFICIENCY rather than hold up taxpayers for more and more tax increases or do you think that the CTA operates like a Swiss watch? Until they manage and operate the CTA better, more hard earned tax dollars going to the CTA is like pitching money in down a rat hole.
The Illinois Auditor General did an independent audit last year on the RTA (CTA, Metra, and PACE) and found that their operations were generally efficient, and that the root of most of their problem was insufficient funding.

When you talk about "efficiency," what you're really talking about is operating costs, and what that comes down to is employee overhead. The fact is that there's nothing left to trim. Trains and buses have a single operator; there's rarely more than one attendant at any El station; there are barely enough mechanics to keep an aging fleet moving, let alone clean. Huberman is doing as much as he can with so little. The CTA can't survive any more "efficiency." It needs more resources to handle more passengers, period. If you "starve the beast" and cut funding, how exactly do you think that "they [will] manage and operate the CTA better?"

As for "hard earned tax dollars going to the CTA," the RTA receives less of its operating expenses from tax money than most major municipal transit agencies in the U.S. Much more of your our tax money goes to pay for roads and bridges for cars, which are subsidized far more than mass transit. Every dollar spent on transit actually saves money in the log run because it helps to take cars off of the roads. So your "taxpayer revolt" ire is misdirected.
Nobama 08

Chicago, IL

#19 Sep 2, 2008
Only in Chicago does this make any sense. Ridership is up so shouldn't there be a corresponding increase in revenue. Where does all the extra money go you ask, I'm sure doofus Daley could tell you. Before we can see any significant change Daley, $troger and all the mobbed up d.o.u.c.h.e. bags have to go.
Larry

Willowbrook, IL

#20 Sep 2, 2008
In the past year,
- Metra increased fares 10%,
- there was an increase in the sales tax, benefiting Metra, the CTA and Pace, and
- there has been a record number of passengers.

So why don't we have any money for capital improvements?
sowhat

Chicago, IL

#21 Sep 2, 2008
"In addition, the CTA has received only half of the 400 new buses it ordered to replace 1991 models that had been due for retirement in 2003."

CTA received buses 1000-1833, at least, as well as 800-809 and 900-909. That sounds like about 850 buses, not 400.

Tribune can't get the facts straight, in an area where anyone on the street knows better.
Mike

Oak Park, IL

#22 Sep 2, 2008
Tax Serf of Richie Daley wrote:
CTA train ridership is up 2% and this is called "phenomenal growth" in ridership? This sounds like a stalking horse for the CTA to ask for even more tax increases on top of the record tax increases last year in order to pay the salaries of legions of folks who do little or nothing other than mill about on train platforms talking to their friends on their cell phones.
Read the story... CTA expects 200,000 additional riders per working day. that may be small percentagewise compared with their daily average of 1.7 million riders, but think of it this way... that's enough additional people daily to fill every seat at Soldier Field (61,500), Wrigley Field (41,000), U.S. Cellular Field (40,600), United Center (21,700) and Toyota Park (20,000)- and still leave 15,100 standing in line!
Nancy

United States

#23 Sep 2, 2008
Not all rides on the L are short ones - you can easily be on the train for an hour. I just don't get it - they want people to utilize the public transportation and then they can't begin to accomodate them. Patrick Ryan and Mayor Daley said we needed a "little" work on the public transport for their big Olympic dream. Someone give them a call and tell them to get on in the morning around 8 am!
JXS

Wood Dale, IL

#24 Sep 2, 2008
Larry wrote:
In the past year,
- Metra increased fares 10%,
- there was an increase in the sales tax, benefiting Metra, the CTA and Pace, and
- there has been a record number of passengers.
So why don't we have any money for capital improvements?
Because they had to divert capital funds to pay for operating expenses because the state has been consistently short on funding mass transit for decades!

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