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.