We've written in the last few days about the lack of communication on the street closures and track work at the Red Line Morse "L" station this past weekend. The CTA acknowledged its mistake and promises better communication in the future on the Red Line North Interim Improvements project.
Good. Progress made.
Unfortunately, the CTA still has lots more work to do in getting information to the masses during a big emergency rail service outage, such as what happened last Tuesday when a furniture store just north of the Fullerton station on the Red/Brown/Purple lines burned to the ground. Service on this busy corridor was suspended for almost three hours during the evening rush.
I heard and read on Twitter and Facebook many complaints about the dearth of good info from the CTA about alternatives and generally about what was happening.
Now, I will say that the CTA's Twitter feed was updating followers frequently about what was happening. But that's only 10,000 followers, many of whom probably don't ride the Red/Brown/Purple line stretch that was affected. There are about 120,000 daily riders on the north Red Line, and about 60,000 on the Brown Line, according to the most recent ridership report.
- Promised shuttle buses that didn't come.
- Packed buses that weren't picking up passengers.
- Unhelpful/uninformed customer service agents at various affected rail stations.
I think we all have to realize that the CTA will never be able to use buses to substitute for suspended rail service, especially on the busy Red/Brown/Purple north corridor. There's just not enough capacity. But we should expect better communication from the CTA about what's going on and alternative routes.
We all have our stories about how we got home that night. It took me about two hours to get to Rogers Park, but only because I squeezed on a #36 Broadway at Marina Towers.
Here's an account and photos from James, a frequent Tattler contributor.
When I got out of the Cubs game at 4:15 pm, the lines to the Addison station were backed up. The police said there was a fire and no trains south of Belmont. I walked down to the Belmont station. It was mass craziness. The crowds were flowing into the street under the station.
There was only one CTA supervisor. There were about 20 police. The police were more proactive and better informed than CTA folks.
I walked back to Halsted to catch the #8 bus. The bus was packed and the streets were gridlocked. Folks in the back of the bus would not move all the way back even when the driver asked many times to do so.
As the bus got close to North and Clybourn, streams of riders were walking away from the station like it was Sept. 11 in New York when folks just walked to get home. At the Red Line North/Clybourn station it was a packed mess.
Folks pushed to get down to the platform. There were many people that pushed ahead and shoved to get through the mass of waiting riders. One guy jumped on the side rails to pass over the stairs. The riders going down pushed the ascending riders on the stair to one lane to exit. This bottleneck made the clearing of the platform much slower.
There was no CTA staff giving direction on platform speakers. And remember, there was no service north of this station. The masses were so heavy if a fire marshal saw the crowd he would freak out. It was like E2 - many times over.
Once on the train the trip took the regular time. The bottom line was a 30 minutes trip took two-and-a-half hours.