Claypool "working feverishly" to find slow zone $$; calls for communications tests, fixes

The CTA is “bleeding riders because of rail slow zones,” President Forrest Claypool lamented in a CTA Tattler interview. And finding the money to repair them is “one of the most important jobs I have,” he added.

“What we’re doing is throwing good money after bad … because of the patchwork nature” of slow zone repairs, Claypool acknowledged in our talk in early July. He also noted finding the resources to make long-needed repairs to the rail system is a huge challenge. “The Red Line alone needs $5 billion to bring it into a state of good repair. The first priority is the Dan Ryan branch of the Red Line. That’s a $400 million  project.

“I have not identified a source yet to fund project,” Claypool added, “but I work every single day to find those dollars. I’m working feverishly to find those dollars because we don’t have a choice. Of course it affect our riders on North Side too because we can’t send as many trains going north as we would like.”

Claypool has one small victory recently in finding $10 million in state funds for slow zone repairs on the Purple Line. The CTA will use the money to fix three crumbling viaducts.

Turning to passenger communication, Claypool said, “I couldn’t agree with you more” about the problems I've recounted here, and revealed he has called asked for a comprehensive review of  CTA communication systems.

“We need to know how good are they,” he said “I want to test them so I know there is clear, direct communication from central command center. In the rail cars themselves I’ve asked to find out the right level of quality for passenger to hear – it’s got to be loud and clear.

I noted the key complaint about riders getting to train stations during service outages, and not getting any information from CTA personnel. Claypool promised more training all around.

“Operations personnel have to be trained on what information to tell riders and what is happening if there truly is something that passengers need to know. I understand the frustration of not knowing what’s going on and what’s going to happen next.”


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  • Yak-yak blah-blah.

  • In reply to mikep621:

    But tell us what you really mean, Mike. ;-)

    On the other hand, you were a lot more concise that I was.

  • It's amazing. Dilbert's on point again today. Dilbert 2, Claypool 0.

    So, now the undefined Dan Ryan project is up to $400 million. I see that you did not ask him what exactly is wrong there any why it was not fixed in 2007, as CTA claimed.

    Obviously, he is also adding in the cost of a Broadway subway or the "yank out the embankment and build a concrete L" schemes, but accepting the $11 million discussed yesterday appears to mean that those aren't going to happen.

    When is the comprehensive review going to be completed? On thing I learned in project management class is that there has to be measurable goals and timeline. I guess Claypool never learned that at Rise Health.

    Finally, he's playing doctor rather than farmer today, with all the "feverish" and "bleeding." I thought that it was a transit authority job to bleed riders, since it loses at least $1 per rider. Ironic, but he may turn out to be the CTA's Todd Stroger--look for a $4 fare and even worse service. Todd didn't have a clue, and Claypool is now continually demonstrating that he doesn't.

  • In reply to jack:

    OMG jack - you had to invoke the Toddster; I had some creepy uncomfortable feeling I couldn't define; you just hit it on the head.

    They even look just a little bit alike - woe is us.

  • In reply to mikep621:

    I was mostly referring to the irony. Claypool was supposedly Mr. Clean, the one thing protecting us from Todd's incompetence and tax increases.

    But when the rubber meets the road, Claypool apparently doesn't know the first thing about running a bus company. The only difference is that he doesn't have Eugene Mullins speaking for him. Claypool has the force of corporate speak. May have fooled the Tribune Editorial Board, but not us.

  • On the communication thing, he certainly said what I wanted to hear. Now we'll see if anything happens.

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