We've covered the top CTA stories of 2011, and reviewed the year by month.
Now it's time to look ahead to 2012. Here are some key CTA stories to look for in this new year.
CTA union negotiations. The labor contract with CTA unions expired on Dec. 31. Now negotiations are ready to begin for a new contract. President Forrest Claypool has made it clear he thinks some of the union rules are antiquated. And he's hoping to avoid service cuts and fare hikes on July 1 by getting at least $80 million in union givebacks. Good luck with that, Forrest.
Further safety improvements. What it costs whether you can actually use the CTA directly affect every rider (see above). Following close behind is whether you feel safe while using the CTA. The CTA made some good efforts last year in greatly expanding its video surveillance network at rail stations. And this spring, 50 newly sworn officers will patrol exclusively on the CTA trains and platforms. That should help!
Fate of new CTA rail cars. Just a few weeks after the new Series 5000 rail cars debuted for revenue service on the Pink Line, the CTA pulled them off the rails because of problems with wheel housings. The question is - when will they be back in service 2012, and how far behind will this put the CTA's rollout of all 700-plus new cars.
New rail stations open. In 2011, the CTA finished a complete rehab of the Grand-State Red Line station, and it looks brand new. But it's not. However, the Morgan Street station on the Pink and Green Lines will be brand new when it opens the summer. The new Oakton station on the Yellow Line also will open this year.
First Bus Rapid Transit route. The CTA has talked for years about adding Bus Rapid Transit to its system. It looks like 2012 may be the year those dreams come to fruition with a pilot project on Jeffery Boulevard. The main features of BRT are dedicated bus lanes, traffic signal prioritization and special boarding areas where riders pre-pay.
So, that's what WILL happen in 2012. What do you WISH would happen in 2012?