The CTA year in the review, Q3: New hybrid buses; tougher policy on celling drivers; Brown resigns, Peterson takes over

This is the third installment of the Tattler's 2009 CTA news in review, focused on the third quarter.

July: The CTA admitted that passengers really didn't like the "max-capacity" train cars on the Brown Line very much. The CTA took delivery of the first of 58 new articulated hybrid buses. My brother Dan announced the relaunch of a better CTA Tweet. Readers gave lots of advice on "planning your CTA train entrance with and exit strategy in mind." After much passenger grousing, the CTA found some cash to extend the canopy roofs on the Belmont and Fullerton platforms. We saw for the first time the chilling CTA bus video that captured a killer's actions. The agency promised to fight harder against female harassment on trains and buses. And the CTA opened the last rehabbed Brown Line station on time.

August: Much ado about the CTA radio airwaves thief. CTA gets tough on distracted, celling drivers. I got the 411 on CTA complaints. ChicagoNow officially launched its network of blogs, and CTA Tattler was featured. There were 136 comments on my "what would you do to improve the CTA" post. We reported how a CTA bus buy delayed by lack of capital funds prompted layoffs at the bus manufacturer. The CTA announced plans to dump fare cards and accept "smart" debit and credit cards.

September: The city announced that Oprah's season premiere on Michigan would shut down 15 bus routes for two-and-a-half days. The CTA promised security cameras at all rail station by the summer of 2010. And the agency first announced plans to share Bus Tracker code with outside developers. Revenue and ridership were down for September. CTA Tattler gave a progress report on the first year of the real estate deal with Jones Land LaSalle. CTA Board Chairwoman Carole Brown resigned. The first of 10 new rail cars were delivered to the Skokie shop. And it didn't take long for Mayor Daley to name City Hall insider Terry Peterson as the new CTA board chairman.

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  • Since I foreshadowed the fourth August item yesterday, I'll move on to the connection between that and the second August item.

    It is starting to appear that the Tribune is using Chicago Now as a free source of reporting, as its own reporters no longer seem able to get the story on their own. In this case, the CTA Tattler reported on the "bus order deferred," and acknowledged its source, several days before Jon Hilkevitch got around to asking Noelle Gaffney about it. Of course, Hilkevitch did not acknowledge his source.

    Likewise, I see that after a story goes up in the Chicago Bar-Tender, the Tribune's home page and Chicago Breaking News picks it up, usually 4 hours after it was originally posted, pretty consistently.

    Coincidence? However, one thing is clear; it won't use Blogshakalaka or Coppock on Sports as a news source.

  • Jack, I need to clarify something. First, ChicagoNow isn't "using" me as a free source of reporting. They in fact do pay me to blog. Plus, I work hard to find stories that others reporters don't have and enjoy scooping them.

    One more thing - thanks for all your comments here. I don't always agree with you but your comments are always thoughtful and provocative.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    I wasn't saying that Chicago Now is using you. I am saying that the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Breaking News (its side operation) are using Chicago Now, and, thus, you, Jennifer Fernicola, and presumably others, without giving attribution.

    Thank you for clarifying the reason for coming here from Typepad, and that the Tribune is compensating you for your reporting. And, as an aside to my prior comment, I wonder if the Tribune Company is getting its money's worth out of Chet and Bruce.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    Thought you would like to know, I noticed yesterday I was finally getting cell service on my iPhone in the tunnels. It was Edge, not 3G, and kind of sporadic. Worked better in the stations then tunnels, maybe they are not complete with the roll-out yet.

  • In reply to joeconey:

    Well, that's going to be kind of stupid if they install EDGE instead of 3G. Heck, 3G is already out-dated with 4G already existing now. I sure hope that is not what the finished product will be, but perhaps they will be using both down there.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    I guess the CTA, much like many of it's riders, had a pretty wild ride this past year. I can hardly wait to see what 2010 has in store for us all.

  • Probably... I know they are testing them right now, sans passengers.

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