RTA OKs CTA's budget with service cuts

The RTA last week officially approved the CTA's 2010 budget. That budget plan includes elimination of the nine express bus routes, plus service cuts on 41 other bus routes. Service will either
start later or end earlier, or both, and frequency of service
during off-peak hours will also be implemented to reduce costs. The cuts are effective Feb. 7.

As a result of these cuts, more than 1,000 CTA employees will be laid off.

In a statement, CTA President Richard Rodriguez said:

"We have been and will continue to evaluate and pursue all opportunities to reduce operating expenses in order to keep
our transit service as intact as possible, None of the decisions have been easy and although we have been
able to spare riders a fare increase, the service reductions will
impact both riders and CTA employees."

The CTA is continuing discussions
with its labor unions on ways to reduce costs and save jobs. As a result of union contracts,
CTA's budget for union
salaries has increased $24 million. Nearly 90% of the CTA's workforce is unionized.

Meanwhile, the CTA is helping the laid-off employees by giving them information on unemployment benefits and job search tips. It's also trying to hook up employees with temporary work in Vancouver, driving buses during the 2010 Winter Olympics in February.

In the press release, the CTA couldn't help taking a shot at union employees:

The CTA's non-union workers are foregoing wage increases and will be taking up to 18 unpaid days in 2010. Because nearly 90% of the CTA workforce is unionized, similar measures by union employee could save enough to scale back plans for service reductions and save jobs.

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  • This is going to be horrible, isn't it?

  • Why would you put all these people out of work? I don't believe there is a crisis and that they are hiding money. How is it productive to cut jobs and cut service and put these people on unemployment? Can someone explain this to me? Can someone also tell me what is a Circuit Breaker Fair Card. I see people that aren't pretending to go to a job, don't look sick or disabled get on the bus with these cards. Who is paying for them and what are their purpose. Is this an expense we can do wiithout?

  • I sort of take the press release as a CYA. First, the RTA approving the budget only indicates that the RTA thinks it is balanced. As far as savings from the unionized workforce to preserve service, CTA still hasn't demonstrated how it would overcome the fact that it takes at least an integral number of bus driver to operate a bus at one time. Hence, it is just a beancounting exercise. Anyway, the unions say they won't make concessions and there is no way of forcing them to do so, so it appears that than angle is moot.

  • Moshucat wrote: "Can someone also tell me what is a Circuit Breaker Fair Card."

    The same state legislation that allows seniors to ride free on CTA, Pace and Metra gives low-income people with disabilities the right to ride free. Circuit Breaker is the existing state program that sets the threshold for those free rides. In theory, one must have a certified disability and a low enough income to get the permit for the free rides. You can ask your local state senator and state representative what the official purpose is for giving these free rides, but it appears the General Assembly wanted to give some relief to people it felt were least able to afford public transit fares. More specifics are on the RTA's web site at www.rtachicago.org. I don't know if they took this into account, but unemployment among people with disabilities is much higher than that in the general population even when we aren't in a period of high joblessness. All taxpayers in the six-county region and all CTA, Pace and Metra riders are ultimately paying for these free rides.

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