CTA turns up the heat in rhetoric in blaming unions for service cuts

The CTA's top officials on Thursday minced no words in blaming he union for the service cuts set to go into effect this Sunday.

"Our largest labor unions have been unwilling to help us reduce
costs, even if it means more than 1,000 of their members lose their
jobs." -- President Richard Rodriguez

"Sadly, the leaders of the labor unions have not shared our urgency
in working to save jobs for their members and preserve service for our
riders. These service reductions will make it more difficult for people
to get where they need to go." -- Board Chairman Terry Peterson 

They also made it clear that passengers should expect more crowded
conditions and longer wait times, warning that riders who travel on the
agency's highest volume routes may have to wait for multiple buses or
trains before boarding. And, of course, they are advising we allow
additional travel time to get to where we need to go, particularly
during non-rush periods.

No weekend service changes. The only bright note is that -- aside from the aforementioned service cuts set for Sunday -- there are no other scheduled service changes on rail lines or bus routes this weekend. I guess they figure the service cuts are plenty enough to piss us off.

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  • As other posters on this site have indicated, posting on transitchicago.com apparently isn't as an effective communications medium as you and I thought.

    Also, since it is a press release, odds are that the quotes are actually attributable to Sheila Gregory and Noelle Gaffney (who, somehow are in at least their third CTA administration).

    BTW, you left out the obvious "cut and paste" of the other 95% of the press release. ;-)

    However, I do note that TV stations (at least Channels 7.1 and 9.1) are using new footage to cover this story. I haven't looked yet if 32.1 is still using its old shots of MANs and white Pace 4523 buses. So, at least the cameramen's guild is getting some work out of this.

  • Jack, there was a press conference yesterday and both said the same things.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    OK, but I worked for marketing guys and took a PR course, so I know how things in that area work.

    Also, Todd Stroger said things, but it was manifest that someone had to have fed him the lines.

  • Well, what are the going odds something will change before Monday?

    I'm still trying to figure out if this is good long term for the CTA. Bad since it affects service and commute times, but possibly good if they are able to later increase service and hire cheaper labor. Also, they will be getting rid of old buses and an ancient garage. I'm leaning towards bad right now though.

  • In reply to chris:

    For the reasons you say, about 1 in 99. The guy I mentioned as being more reasonable lately relayed a story that the pits at Archer had to be fixed once before because they collapsed.

    CTA's position in 1992 according to Krambles's book, was that Archer was due for total replacement, then in 1997 they posted a sign saying "Serving the neighborhood for over 90 years," and now it is closed.

    Also, since the capital bill money hasn't appeared, CTA doesn't have the equipment to run the former schedule, unless one doesn't believe the statements that it doesn't have the money to maintain the buses it is taking off the street.

  • In reply to jack:

    The Sun-Times just reported that Daley called the parties into his office, so I am reducing the odds to about 1 in 80. I'm sure Darrell Jefferson will be mesmerized by the fearless leader's magnetic personality.

    http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/2031727,cta-mayor-daley-stepping-in-020510.article

  • In reply to chris:

    I'm glad you call it "rhetoric," Kevin, but "bullsh*t" would really be more appropriate.

    A lot of good could be accomplished by focusing on the real reasons for this funding crisis, and it's a pretty strong abdication of responsibility on Rodriguez's part to scapegoat the unions.

    The three trip planners seem not to have been updated, if anyone was hoping those would provide a clue about bus times and frequencies. In fact, Goroo is telling me that, for a trip on Sunday, I should take the 93 California-Dodge, which just doesn't even run then.

  • In reply to BobS:

    Goroo, and the RTA program on which it was based, have been and always will be totally unreliable. There is also a history of the CTA not talking to the RTA.

    As I mentioned to some other Chicago Now blogger who complained about the supposed lack of information, why not go to transitchicago.com? That seems to reinforce what I said earlier about apparently the word about that site has not gotten out.

    At least the web version of Bus Tracker has a link to the Passenger Alerts.

  • In reply to jack:

    I'm lost, jack. The RTA Trip Planner at http://tripsweb.rtachicago.com/ has always been rock solid for me. The trip planners at the CTA's own site are Google and Goroo, which seem to be broken, as I mentioned; why tell me to use that one? They don't even give you the option of using the one reliable one -- although, as I say, I can't determine whether it's been updated for the cutbacks. (I assume not, as, since I also say, it matches Google Transit's plans.)

  • In reply to BobS:

    Well, any time I tried the RTA Trip Planner, now rechristened goroo, it was horribly wrong. My last experiment on goroo was from a Metra station to the University of Chicago Law School. Somehow it interpreted the latter as some elementary school in University Park, and it assumed that somehow one could be teleported from Chicago Union Station to around Torrence and 193rd to make the final leg of the trip.

    By comparison, Google Transit got me to within a block of where I intended, although not necessarily by the route I would have used.

    There have been other instances I tried, such as a trip from Calumet City to the Loop being routed by Trip Planner via Oak Forest.

    The Trip Planner is a piece of junk. Worse of all, the RTA announced that it spent $1 million of taxpayer money to convert it to goroo, even though that was in direct competition with private enterprise Google, which was doing the same work for the CTA and Metra, without a government subsidy, and much more accurately (although I am still not sure when Marquette Park became Tackington Park).

    And, as you acknowledged, goroo had 93 on Sunday when it has not run then at any time in conceivable recent history. That isn't just a glitch caused by next weekend's schedule change.

  • In reply to jack:

    I'm lost again. There are three trip planners, not two. Goroo is not the RTA Trip Planner "rechristened" -- the RTA Trip Planner is still available at the link I provided, and while I don't know any of the background or technical details, I've pointed out here that they certainly give different results, so they aren't by any stretch the same. Goroo I've found useless from the launch; I've used the RTA Trip Planner that I linked to above for years, and as I say I've always found it reliable, to the extent that the unexpected can always happen.

    I suppose that unless your life uncannily duplicates mine, I shouldn't promise you that the RTA Trip Planner I linked to will work as well for you as it always has for me, but I think you should at least compare the two side-by-side to see that they indeed are quite distinct in their results.

    As I say, the RTA Trip Planner I linked to gave what may or may not be a useful result for a trip on Sunday -- I just have no way of knowing whether it's been updated for the cutbacks.

  • In reply to BobS:

    The Google Transit link on CTA's site seems to be giving accurate directions. I tried plotting out the same route today and Monday at the exact same times. The results for today told me to use the X49, the results for Monday gave me directions for the 49 - seemingly recognizing that the X49 will no longer run. I tried other start and end points and each time Google Transit gave me different times and routes for Monday than it did for today - reflective of the revised schedule. I did the same test a week ago and found that Google Transit seemed to already have the new times available then.

    Goroo, the RTA's newer regional trip planner, has never been accurate or helpful to me and I have no expectation that it will be now. It doesn't seem to know that the schedules will be changing.

    The RTA Trip Planner at tripsweb.rtachicago.com, while not promoted by RTA anymore, does seem to have the updated CTA schedules.

    Fianlly as Jack points out, why not go to the CTA's site? There is a big banner announcing the service changes and a page with loads of detailed information - lists of all the routes which will be affected (Eliminated, start later, end later, less frequent) and has all the upcoming schedules as well as the current schedules for the next two days.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Thanks for that input. I rarely use the express routes, so it didn't occur to me to see if they turned up.

    The information on the CTA's site is thorough but doesn't really help anyone plan a trip, does it? The point of the Trip Planner is to avoid having to comb through all those schedules comparing arrival times and departure times.

  • In reply to chris:

    R Rod was on Chicago Tonight last evening and made it seem as though it was still possible to prevent the cuts although that could just have been more smoke and mirrors. After all, he did appear after Scott Lee Cohen and his ex-wife spent close to 30 minutes saying that he never tried to slit the hooker's neck and really he's a good guy workin' hard for the people of Illinois. Compelling stuff....

  • Bob probably should answer for himself, since he initially used the phrase. However, the only real answer is that the sales tax is bringing in 20% less than what was projected when the RTA bill passed in 2008, and the Real Estate Transfer Tax 75% less, even though CTA still has to pay the pension bonds funded by the latter.

    I don't think Rodriguez can do anything about those root causes, nor the people who sued for racial discrimination a couple of weeks ago.

  • In reply to jack:

    The many problems of that cause perennially low funding of the system have been discussed on CTA Tattler for years, MK; I refer you to those discussions.

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