CTA Introduces “Bemont Avenue” on 3,000 Wrong Maps

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(Photo: “Bemont” Avenue on the Blue Line? No transfer at Fullerton on the Red? New transit info line answered by “Nick”? According to the CTA’s latest ‘L’ maps, you betcha. Credit: Chicago Tribune.)

Sometimes I feel a bit guilty about the bad props I give the Chicago Transit Authority on Chicago Carless. I try to give them the benefit of the doubt, but as my previous experience shows, time and again when you give the CTA enough rope, they just seem to hang themselves.

As reported widely yesterday (by the Chicago Tribune, the CTA Tattler, CBS 2 Chicago, and ABC 7 Chicago), because of the debut of the controversial new Pink Line, in the past month the CTA has needed to update the maps in all 1,100 of its railcars. It did so, printing up 3,000 new system and line maps and posting them above every ‘L’ door in the system. Trouble is, no one actually bothered to proofread the maps. And they’re all wrong.

Funny, for weeks I’ve heard friends ponder why Fullerton was no longer considered a transfer point on the Red, Brown, and Purple lines. We all thought it was because of the ongoing reconstruction of the Brown Line. Um, no. The CTA just forgot that Fullerton was a transfer point. Among the other errors on the maps, the CTA also forgot that Belmont Avenue has the letter L in it (on the new maps, the Blue Line stops at “Bemont”), and forgot their own telephone number (the new maps list the wrong transit information number–but if you live in 847, you can talk to “Nick”, the poor sap whose number the CTA actually used).

It’s a series of mistakes that will cost the agency $75,000 to fix–a fix that will take up to eight weeks to complete–all because no one at the CTA ever bothered to proofread the signs before sending them off to the printer’s.

In fact, the wrong maps were not even the only signage fiasco to hit the CTA this week. When the Brown Line’s Rockwell station reopened on Wednesday after months of rehab work, it opened with incorrect station signs. Seems that the CTA saw fit to install station signs that read “Rockwell Avenue”–much to the amusement of riders who, indeed, live on Rockwell Street.

Now, everybody’s reported that the moron in charge of the updated maps has been fired (no word on the moron who renamed Rockwell Street). That’s a good start. But is anyone else wondering how 3,000 wrong maps get installed in 1,100 ‘L’ cars without anyone in the CTA planning department, or the customer service department, or CTA president Frank Kruesi’s office actually noticing–if, in fact, any of these people read the new maps at all? Where, exactly, was the managerial oversight in all of this? Apparently, nowhere.

I loved the quote Channel 2 got from the CTA, though. When asked whether this affair was embarrassing to the organization, a CTA spokesperson replied, simply, “Of course it is.”

Now there’s something the CTA and I can both agree on.

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