CTA year in review - Q1: Service cuts, new cameras, strange CTA antics

This week I take a look at CTA in the news in 2010. Today, we review the first quarter of the year.

January: The year starts with new ways to access Bus Tracker via text messages. And with  service cuts looming in February, the CTA tries to negotiate union givebacks. In the end, the union claims the CTA "walked away" from the negotiations table. Funds from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security allows the CTA to install cameras at stations on the Green Line. And in January, rail operators start the goofy announcements: "Attention customers. Please do not attempt to board, the doors are closing." They are prompted by the antics of "stroller mom."

February: The CTA reduces service Feb. 7 by cutting bus hours, routes and rail frequency. And the CTA blames the union for the cuts for not making any givebacks. In good news, the CTA board OKs spending more than half a billion dollars on new rail cars. And the Wilson Red Line station, widely refiled as the most foul, gets $3 million in TIF funds for a much-needed rehab.

March: CTA Tattler shares these transit songs to help riders pass the time during longer waits resulting from service cuts. We report an easier way to text CTA for next-bus times at your stop. The CTA approves more ATM machines across the system and expects to net $1.3 million in the deal over five years. In crime news, we report on how a handyman helped a driver subdue a hammer attacker.

Finally, in CTA wierdness, we give you these photos. 

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  • Kevin,
    You should add that YOU and cta blames the union for the cuts. I'm just saying.

  • What the real story is is that the union voted them down 80-20, with the old guys saying sayonora to the those with less seniority. Of course, they, despite what the leadership said, suffered an arbitrator's decision saying that CTA could lay off in the manner it did.

    ibilldavis isn't telling you that. ibilldavis has been short of the facts a couple of time now.

    Heck, even the Socialists seemed to admit a couple of days later that the union wasn't really going to do anything to avoid the cuts. As I said before "solidarity forever."

  • 2009 year in review or 2010?

  • I actually would have considered cta's offer if they didn't have so much waste in management. There is a lot of waste at 567

  • In reply to ibilldavis:

    Did you tell the 900 union workers who were laid off that?

  • In reply to ibilldavis:

    test

  • In reply to ibilldavis:

    test

  • In reply to ibilldavis:

    Does "test"=yes?

    BTW, why don't you tell us how you would get $93 million out of management, especially since while the union can negotiate on behalf of its members, it has no rights under section 4 of the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act to impose anything regarding management?

  • In reply to ibilldavis:

    I have tried 5 times to respond, they all faied to post, besides my post were toward Kevin , not you.

  • In reply to ibilldavis:

    ibill: While I respect a union's right to negotiate a contract, what I didn't like were the sacrifices that non-union CTA employees had to make. They suffered through pay cuts and furlough days off without pay while the union members got their pay increase. Well, except those who were laid off.

  • In reply to ibilldavis:

    Kevin, you just don't know as much as you think you do.

    Let me tell you what's been going on. Essentially, many positions were eliminated, however, runs still had to be filled. So you have your full time drivers, getting their 40 hrs a week guaranteed, at roughly $30/hr. Then you have part timers getting whatever hrs they can, at roughly $20/hr. Here's the beautiful part, after many full timers finish their runs, they are getting the extra runs, many getting a good 10-15 hrs a week of overtime at roughly $45/hr. Leaving part timers getting only 25 hrs.

    Now? Wouldn't financially responsible management say, "Hey, we can get these same runs done, while saving a lot of money, simply by bumping these part timers up to 35 hrs a week, rather than paying more than double the hourly rate they would receive, by giving them to a full timer?"

    CTA is throwing away money, yet, it's the operators fault? The amount of overtime paid since the service cuts, is unreal, but, it's the operators fault? Honestly, anyone blaming the operators or the union, just doesn't have any clue of what's really going on financially with this company.

  • In reply to goldminetim:

    Since, as it was pointed out, the union was only exercising its rights under the contract, please point out, with links to the contract provisions, where the contracts would have allowed the scheduling methods you suggest.

  • In reply to jack:

    I'm not completely certain what you're asking, I'm referring to how CTA is wasting money.

  • In reply to goldminetim:

    They may be wasting money. However, my understanding, as a result of correspondence with some drivers, is that part timers are only allowed 30 hours per week per contract, then they become full timers, but then they would have to be laid off.

    Now, if you had suggested that CTA call back some on the layoff list to go on the extra board as part timers, that would be a different matter, although the contract would also have to allow that.

    Nonetheless, since you were the one who suggested that part timers could be scheduled for 35 hours, consistently with the contract, the burden of proof is on you.

  • In reply to jack:

    I believe 32 hrs is the limit, but I'm not sure how to provide you with this link you need. But regardless, if it's 30, 32, or whatever it is, to have part timers working 15-25 hrs a week, then paying overtime to full timers on short runs that could instead be given to part timers at a regular pay rate, is just financial retardation, regardless of how much of a CTA management supporter you are.

  • In reply to goldminetim:

    I really don't pretend to know the answer here, but perhaps if the part-timers get more hours, the CTA has to pay for more of their benefits. That would probably cost more than the overtime. But again, this is just a guess.

  • In reply to goldminetim:

    If you had been reading my comments for the past 3 or 4 years, you would realize that the one thing I am not is a CTA management supporter.

    However, I am also not a supporter of union people who insist on their contract rights, despite harm to other members, and then misrepresent what those contract rights are. Hence, why I asked for proof.

  • In reply to goldminetim:

    I'm sure there is still some overtime in the system, but overall overtime is down this year compared to previous years. So, not sure where you're going with this...

  • In reply to goldminetim:

    I also wanted to mention that the $3 million for Wilson station still hasn't been implemented. As far as I can tell, no work has been done yet, which is disappointing.

  • In reply to goldminetim:

    I often ride the Red Line to Garfield or the Green Line to 63rd & Cottage.
    I've never heard those absurd "watch for the doors closing" announcements south of Roosevelt.
    I rode the Purple from Linden to Howard last evening & didn't hear once!

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