We'll start the week with a roundup of CTA -- and Metra -- news items from the last week.
Another shot at cutting free senior rides. The state Senate is taking another stab at reducing free rides for seniors on the CTA and other transit agencies. The latest bill, which passed the full Senate unanimously, sets the income threshold for free rides at $41,415 for singles and $55,071 for couples. The RTA would save about $35 million under the plan, and the CTA an estimated $20 million. Every little bit helps. But don't get your hopes up too high. This is an election year, and Gov. Pat Quinn has already indicated he like the current plan with no income limits.
A week of track falls. Last week seemed like an especially busy one for passengers falling -- or flinging themselves -- onto CTA tracks. A person was critically injured Monday after falling onto the Green line tracks from a West Side platform. Also Monday, a man was killed by a Blue Line train in an apparent suicide. And then Wednesday another person was hurt after a fall on the Green Line at Pulaski.
Orange Line slow zone update. Since CTA Tattler first reported new Orange Line slow zones, the CTA has eased speed restrictions a bit. But the maximum speed is still 35 miles an hour on nearly half of the 10-mile run between the Loop and Midway. That's a reduction of about 30% since the CTA first reported signaling problems, according to the Tribune.
Twisted tale of Pagano suicide. I don't usually mention the Metra much here, but Friday's apparent suicide by Metra boss Philip Pagano certainly merits attention. And that's just what Pagano got, particularly with the horrific method -- standing in the path of an oncoming train.We'll never know the demons in Pagano's head at his time of death, but surely he knew the trauma it would cause the train engineer who struck him. It only serves to broaden the tragedy of the event.