Welcome to the CTA, President Forrest Claypool. Congrats to you too, Mayor Emanuel. I wish you both the best.
There's plenty for Claypool to do at the CTA, and his first order of business is to get to know his management team and understand CTA's day-to-day and long-term financial picture, all the while delivering transit service that is safe, clean, on-time, courteous and efficient.
Here are my ideas for Claypool's 100-day plan to get off to a good start at the CTA:
1. Ride the CTA trains and buses. Talk to your customers. Get a feel for what are our top-of-mind concerns and wishes for our transit system.
2. Reach out to all CTA unions. Listen to them and the worker perspective about what's good and bad at the CTA. They will have some good ideas.
3. Start laying the groundwork for the 2012 budget. This promises to
be Claypool's biggest challenge in his first 100 days and just beyond.
In less than five months - 150 days - he will have to present his
budget. And part of that task is renegotiating union contracts. That
gives some flexibility in cutting employees costs with more cost-sharing
on benefits, for instance.
4. Throw us riders a bone. Introduce some new initiative to make our
commutes a little easier. Maybe it's better, more frequent cleanings of
trains and buses. Whatever. But you could easily get your customers on your side
with a "quick win" initiative.
Running such a large transit agency is not an easy job. The tough decisions you make will affect millions. Have at it.
OK readers, what thoughts do you have for Claypool on his first day on the job?