Tattler readers share a wealth of ideas to improve the CTA

First, many thanks to all who have made some thoughtful suggestions on ways to improve the CTA. So far there are well over 100 comments, and probably 200 ideas or more, since many folks had more than one idea.

CTA management definitely reads this blog, and I intend to ask them about some of the suggestions.

Many of you asked for more stations and station rehabs, and others want some stations closed. Others suggested bus-only lanes and better street-level signage. Jeanine thinks most public-facing employees need retraining on how to interact with customers.

Goldminetim jumped into the fray a few times and challenged some of the ideas. That helps make for a richer discussion. Dromero had some good, basic suggestions, such as making everyone pay, reducing the number of bus stops, and keeping the facilities cleaning.

I will review the suggestions and respond with my own thoughts and notes. In the meantime, if you haven't yet had a chance, read all the suggestions. And it's not too late to add your own. You folks are very sharp!

Comments

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  • Something that's been a major improvement: CTA Tweets. It kept me off the trains this morning and I got to work on time. We're still waiting for some people to get here.

  • Congratulations on the phenomenal feedback your post got. 100+ comments is quite an accomplishment. Looking forward to an organized list from you with informed responses to each and additional feedback. Keep up the good work.

  • I think the 94 California buses should run more frequently rather than 1 every hour. While waiting for the bus on the Western Orange Line stop, I can see the 49 Western bus pass at least 3-4 times within a half hour. Meanwhile, the California bus will finally arrive and because it took so long , there's 20 people, at least, waiting to board. And on top of that, they'll arrive 2 at a time, everyone will board the 1st bus and the 2nd bus will just tag along not picking up any passengers? The next train full of commuters will be in for a long wait for the next California bus,meanwhile that 2nd bus could've stayed behind to wait for the next wave of passengers.
    Bottom line, more California buses are needed because that bus is used more than the 49 bus.

  • I'd like to now why, if the CTA is so short of money, they're paying 4 employees to stand around and talk and laugh the afternoon away at the Midway Orange line stop? 1 maybe 2 at the most are all that's needed. Maybe this would save the CTA some money which in effect would save us money by not having to raise our fares to pay someone to stand around for 8 hours and converse!

  • In reply to hijo325:

    As a bus operator who on bad days can go as much as 4-5 hours between getting so much as 2 minutes to go to the bathroom. I too would like to know the answer to your question.

  • In reply to goldminetim:

    Agrees with Chicagoside, and this is nothing new. Many people don't realize that there are many bus operators (that do a damn good job) that have (as Chicagoside pointed out) "bad days" when service gets delayed or reliefs don't happen or buses get diverted where you may not get time to take a bathroom break, but you miss out on fallback time (CTAspeak for 'lunch') and you are under stress just to keep up. It's not always an easy a job as people think it is...

  • In reply to goldminetim:

    This is my vision for the CTA. Yes I know the current infrastructure needs to be fixed and updated, but we also need to greatly expand the heavy rail system. Some of this stuff is a no-brainer, like connecting the Brown line to the Blue Line. Also, bringing back the Humboldt Park Line shouldn't be that hard. Anybody who rides the Blue line can see these tracks between Western and Damen. All the CTA needs to do is rehab it, sorta like the Paulina connector, build a few stations and thats it. I know many proposed rail projects may never come true, like the mid-city transit way and the Airport Express, train, but there are areas where the CTa can improve their rail network with little effort and money

    http://maps.google.com/maps?ie=UTF-8&hl=en&tab=wl

  • In reply to ilovechicago:

    Go to my maps and then Future of the CTA

  • In reply to ilovechicago:

    I could be wrong, but I don't see it so perhaps it is only viewable by you.

  • In reply to chris:

    Yeah i dont know what happened. but on the map I extended the brown to blue line, brought back the humboldt park line, extended the englewood branch to midway, extended the jackson park branch to jackson park, and created a kedzie ave line for the purpose of an outer circle line. I also factored in the gold line, and all of the current proposed extensions of the orange, red ,and yellow lines. Also, te circle line went thru a new subway under michigan ave, and the green line was rerouted form the loop to a subway that serves union station and oglivie tran center

  • In reply to chris:

    where cta bus lines intersect for transfer points,return the bus stop to the corner! having the bus pull thru the green light and stop 1/3 to 1/2 block further away from the intersection is maddening! if one is transferring,they have to run like hell and hope the light(s) havent changed and they make their connection. example: i live in lakeview but worked in bucktown/wicker park.i rode the #8 halsted south from belmont to north avenue, hoping to transfer to a westbound #72 north avenue bus to milwaukee ave.if the #72 was approaching i'd usually miss it because 1) the #8 bus continues thru the intersection til its a full half block south 2) making me rush back 3) only to find the pedistrian light turn red 4) allowing the westbound #72 thru the green light to the stop 5) which would leave by the time the pedistrian light turned green. now had the #8 bus stopped AT THE CORNER of halsted & north ave LIKE IT USED TO,i'd have only to safely walk a few steps to the #72 westbound bus stop. this is just nuts! i've no problem if a bus stop has been moved where there is NO transfer point. otherwise i'd wish to heck they'd return transfer point stops TO THE CORNER. see next comment for an example of having TWO stop lights to cotend with.

  • In reply to chris:

    heres an example of DOUBLE stop lights: the #73 eastbound belmont bus stops 1/4 a block EAST of the intersection at clark street.if on the #22 southbound bus now and you see the #73 bus sail thru the intersection, you must run SOUTH across clark steet, then EAST across belmont ( like the capital letter L ) common sense tells you you probably wont make BOTH lights ( while the south facing light is green, the east facing light is red ) to get to the #73 transfer point on the east side of clark & belmont, befote it leaves. again, had the the #73 eastbound bus stop at the corner of clark & belmont, one need only cross clark street to connect to the bus. i've seen people run like hell ( from one red light to another ) to catch the #73 bus before it took off. am i the only one who feels these changes are warranted? will it take a pedistrian death before this practice is examined closer?

  • In reply to chris:

    The CTA needs to evaluate all the city's bus routes not only at rush hours but during non-peaks times and weekends. I have seen buses with NO riders during the hours of 1 to 4 pm on a daily basis. If those bus routes were reduced or eliminated during this hours; think how much the CTA could save! And with this saved money, other much needed improvements can be accomplished. This isn

  • In reply to chris:

    oops. in my 8/19/09 9:30pm post, the correct number for the belmont bus is 77. apologies for this oversight. carry on!

  • In reply to chris:

    Lynette, by "rock science" do you mean geology? But seriously, it's impossible to evaluate your observation of empty buses without knowing where you are seeing them. A bus near the start or end of its route may have very few people (if any) on board, but that doesn't mean it lacks passengers along the heart of its route. The CTA does seem to make changes when ridership gets low, as in its recent decision to eliminate the 200 route in Evanston.

  • In reply to chris:

    another thing that irks me: its either the bus driver or the brakes or a comination thereof, but why do some/many of the busses have such jerky stop motions when the brake is applied? from a full upright seated position (in a side facing seat ) i've nearly been pulled to an 11 o'clock angle. that is so irritating! it doesnt only occur when the bus is at a fast clip-and have to suddenly stop-it happens when the bus is at a lower speed.which brings me to: if the bus is nearing an intersection and the light is changing from green to red, do NOT step on the gas...only to have to hit the brakes...when we get to the crosswalk.that sudden stopping also sends riders flying forward! i mean,if you can see the lights changing and you suspect you wont get thru it,dont speed up! isnt safety paramount to keeping a schedule? i'd rather arrive at my destination safely than wind up in the hospital due to an accident.

  • In reply to hijo325:

    So you stood there and watched these four employees for eight hours orwas it 5 minutes ? maybe they where changing shifts, maybe two of them our bosses. Think before you complain.

  • In reply to hijo325:

    build a station at the united center, maybe in partnership with the uc, bulls and hawks. split the costs 4 ways and the revunue 4 ways.

  • The trains need conductors! Passengers are at the mercy of a homeless person going through the trains begging for money or a filthy, smelly vagrant using the seat as a bed. Signs alone will not stop soliciting or any of these other behaviors. Some semblance of authority is needed on these trains

  • The Midway Orange Line station needs better signs and lighting. Obviously the countless morons who I see drive into the bus terminals dropping or picking up someone cannot see the small signs posted at the entrance? Larger signs need to be posted that can be seen as well as signs before even entering the terminal that will clearly direct them to the proper drop off/ pickup area.
    As for lighting, brighter lights have to installed ASAP. When nighttime comes, the station, particularly at the entrance on 59th St is very dark and buses pulling in cannot see persons crossing the entrance or passengers walking to other terminals form the drop off point. With all those buses moving around in there it can become very dangerous if you, let alone the drivers, cannot see?

  • We can always count on MK for a good word! ;-)

    I think that what Muhammed is saying is that since this blog moved here, we haven't seen that many comments. So it's good to see readers engaged, and sharing their ideas.

    Is every idea the best ever, and innovative? Maybe not. Still, people are contributing the best they know how, adding to the community of ideas and voices. So thank you all for that.

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