It’s a fair question. New York City has its subway. Boston has its T. Washington D.C. has its Metrorail. London has its Underground. Paris has its metro. In all of those cities, the colloquial name for the rapid-transit system is emblazoned on maps and signs, used in official documents, and pushed forward in press releases as a way to help riders–existing and potential–easily conceive of the rail network. So why aren’t the most famous elevated trains on the planet–ours here in Chicago–similarly branded?
I’ve wondering whether the CTA had a backup plan in case disaster befell the current, summer-long weekend closure of half the Loop ‘L’. The answer, judging from this weekend’s seven-hour service meltdown caused by a cable fire, seems to be ‘No.’
It’s really hard to try and prove a point about the worth of public transit when your local public-transit agency just keeps spitting in your face. Thanks to two badly staged ‘L’ renovation projects, There will be no CTA train service in the entire eastern half of downtown Chicago on most nights and weekends for the rest of 2008. Really?
Kudos to the Chicago Transit Authority on a smartly redesigned website debuting today. It’s a step in the right Web 2.0 direction.
Saturday morning, I was honored to be included in CTA Tattler’s invitation-only meeting with CTA President Ron Huberman–and met a couple of local transit heroes, as well.
No one could be more thrilled than I am about the end to the CTA operating funding impasse. For transit users like me, the draconian cuts threatened in January would have essentially confined me to my neighborhood–and most likely have pushed me and many others out of Chicago.
You could fill 25 Soldier Fields with the number of people who use Chicago Transit Authority buses and trains on an average weekday. It would take 1.5 million people–half of Chicago’s population–to do it. That still wouldn’t take into account almost 300,000 additional daily riders of Metra and Pace suburban trains and buses. And most of these 2 million plus people are potential voters. So why doesn’t Chicago’s mainstream media take Chicagoland’s transit beat seriously?
So the CTA announced Doomsday once again, and not just one Doomsday, but two of them. What luck for Chicagoland transit riders who might miss the elimination of three dozen CTA bus routes in November! Now they’ll be able to enjoy the evaporation of the rest of the system on January 6. What do we have to blame? The unbridled hubris of Rod Blagojevich. And his penis.
Sometimes I feel a bit guilty about the bad props I give the Chicago Transit Authority. Trouble is, as experience shows, time and again when you give the CTA enough rope, they just seem to hang themselves. Like they just did again, by installing 3,000 on-board system maps–without proofreading them first. ‘Bemont’ Avenue, anyone?
Four weeks ago, CTA communications staff told me the agency would adopt a suggestion of mine to make it easier for riders to find weekend service diversion information. I celebrated that decision on this blog. Trouble is, a month later CTA hasn’t bothered to actually make the change.