CTA listens, expands alternative service for 2013 shutdown of Dan Ryan Red Line

After a series of public meetings about the five-month shutdown next year of the Dan Ryan branch of the Red Line, the CTA last week announced how it would be using the feedback given by customers. From the press release:

Among the areas where CTA will be developing or expanding plans based on feedback:

1.   Shuttle bus service – CTA has added a shuttle bus between Roosevelt and Cermak/Chinatown to better facilitate travel between those stations

2.   Expanded bus service – CTA plans to further augment plans for additional bus service along some major bus routes, such as the #24 Wentworth, #9 Ashland, #44 Wallace/Racine, #3 King Drive and #4 Cottage Grove.  Additionally, some operating hours will be lengthened.

3.    Changes to bus routes--#8A will extend to the Halsted Green Line station and #71 71st South Shore will extend to Garfield Green Line station, providing more convenient connections

4.   Safety/security – CTA is developing a comprehensive public safety plan for rail and bus service during the reconstruction period, working closely the Chicago Police Department and Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

5.   Supervision – CTA will implement 24-hour supervision of the free bus shuttles, resulting in smoother service and better assistance to customers

6.   Traffic management – to help ensure smooth traffic flow, CTA will work to develop a strong traffic-management plan for both vehicles and pedestrians.

7.   Community outreach – CTA is expanding its community outreach plan to provide project information to businesses, chambers of commerce, and others groups and organizations.  Information will be tailored to specific areas.

Kudos to the CTA for the outreach and for listening to concerns and ideas. Lots of folks who use the nine stations to be closed starting in May were rightfully upset and many thought the original plans for alternative service simply were insufficient. We hope the dialog continues.

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  • This just being a press release, there were two obvious things I noted when I read the original:

    --They mentioned the 71 bus, but not whether they would continue to "dead end" the 30 bus at the closed 69 station.

    --They mentioned nothing about cooperating with Metra, even though they kept telling Hilkevitch that they were going to work on it. Do they really think that someone who now gets on a bus in Robbins or Beverly is going to be happy being dumped off at 95th, get a free shuttle bus, and then crowd on at Garfield?

    For that matter, they still haven't held a community meeting near the most impacted station--95th.

    They might have bought off the neighborhood with the promise of 400 temporary jobs, but, let's not give them the trophy yet.

  • PLEASE be sure you attend that (whenever) upcoming 95th St. area Red Line Rehabilitation meeting, I am in regular communication with Metra as to planning.

    And I will be able to distribute thousands of Gray Line fliers at each or any meeting: http://grayline.20m.com/cgi-bin/i/images/color_flier_front.jpg

    http://grayline.20m.com/cgi-bin/i/images/color_flier_rear.jpg

    This is going to be F U N ! !

  • Not you & this deader than General Franco idea again!
    Give it up already, it ain't happening!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Besides that, Mike engaged on chicagobus.org in the reductio ad absurdum that this was only about putting obsolete CTA fare barriers on the Metra Electric.

    For that matter, the people I mentioned in my first post probably want to transfer to the RID, if anything.

  • This list contained a couple of key words I really like to hear:

    "Supervision." Something we need more of on the system, because when there isn't any, it shows. For instance, on a recent weekday at Howard during rush hour, when people waited half an hour (or more, I left eventually) for a #22 Clark headed south. Bus after bus pulled in to the terminal, then transformed into a Not In Service and disappeared. Fine for the buses to be heading home after a long day, but what about oh, I dunno, the passengers who wanted to do the same? Didn't seem to be anyone on duty who cared to do anything about it. Our problem, I guess.

    "traffic-management plan for both vehicles and pedestrians" If this means someone will make sure buses don't blow red lights and make left turns when pedestrians are crossing with the signal, an excellent notion. But does the CTA have anyone who is willing to defend pedestrians' right of way against the machines to which they are so devoted? Just wondering.

  • In reply to CCWriter:

    1. There is supposed to be a person with the title of "supervisor" with a laptop with BusTracker on it (according to the RedEye) for each route. There probably will be more of them, but whether they do anything effective is another question. Sort of like Customer Service sending back an autotext e-email response that your complaint will be forwarded to a supervisor.

    2. My impression of traffic management was the opposite of what you suggest.

  • In reply to jack:

    Supervision: Only thing I saw was 2 guys in a CTA van parked near an empty booth. They informed me that some gizmo or other (which I lack, sue me) told them that some bus was held up somewhere or other further south. They were not in a position to explain why no steps were taken by anyone to provide even one #22 from Howard during this time when there were so many of them arriving and vanishing. I suppose "why can't we have a bus?" is the wrong question from the CTA point of view, maybe that's why there's not even someone to ask it of

    Traffic management: Aha. So they're back to "moving buses and trains around" as the definition of the job. People are supposed to get out of the way or go away. I'm not saying I am as skeptical as you are, but I am definitely looking for the CTA to prove that supervision and traffic management are real things, not just talk.

  • In reply to CCWriter:

    Well, you found the supervisors.

    The only other thing implied by your prior post is that if a bus is at the end of its run, and is either going back to the garage or onto another route, whether they can divert it back south on Clark for another couple of hour round trip. Given such things as constraints on overtime, I doubt it.

  • Well, they could've had the #22 run south to Devon or to Foster and then head over to North Park. It might've resulted in some OT for the driver. Or let one of the supervisors (altho that would probably be a grievance) take the bus and let the driver catch the next #22 going back to the garage.

  • In reply to Chirob:

    That's exactly what they used to do when there was a supervisor in a booth at the old Howard bus terminal.
    And the supervisor at Devon & Clark would flip buses back at the Clark/Arthur turnaround when there was bunching.
    It's become obvious that the bus managers at the control center aren't watching Bustracker to see when buses are bunched up.
    And I too have seen numerous buses, always artics, sent out south on Clark with "Not IN Service" destination signs in the afternoon rush in the last couple of weeks. I've never seen this before! They all have had Clark run numbers.
    It looks like someone new is in charge & has their own ideas, which of course are wrong.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Thanks for the background, guys.

    My whole point is that "how are we going to provide a bus for these people to ride on at a time there is supposed to be a bus?" is a question that someone in charge must ask, or at least be available to be asked and have to answer. If there isn't any provision for that, then the CTA is back to existing only for itself.

    If those guys in the van were the supervisors, then I don't feel so bad for having ended the conversation by saying "we can never get any good answers." I only wish I had known to press them a little further with my fundamental question. And I might have added "can we passengers have a grievance? Can there be some constraint on our overtime?"

    I did manage to pose another question to a CTA person the other day. We were discussing the little trick they have of bringing a Red train up to Howard on the wrong side, then not announcing you have to cross over to catch the waiting Yellow, which would normally have been mere steps away, and having it leave before the people can get on it. CTA person said they had to do that because it was important to leave on time. I said, "More important, apparently, than having the passengers be on that train?"

    Of course that was a rhetorical question. But is there anyone in the whole organization to whom it means anything and who also has some power? And how can we reach that person with our pleas for sanity?

  • In reply to CCWriter:

    As I indicated with regard to the autotext e-mail, the answer is No.

    Or you can go back to the Ask Forrest of one year ago and figure that if it is out of his range of corporate speak, he no comprende Inglis.

    You might want to look at chicagobus.org under The Breakdown Thread today, where a rider quotes some supervisor as saying that all the "Out of Service" buses were supposedly to "cure" the problem you describe.

    Or you can look at the Oberman guest commentary in today's Tribune. While they put their dig into the RTA, it is obvious that the politicians are only there to serve themselves, not the passengers.

  • In reply to jack:

    Kevin, feel free to use any of my questions and other phrases the next time you try to get someone at the CTA to address certain issues which seem pretty basic from the viewpoint of the passenger. No charge.

  • In reply to CCWriter:

    OK! Thanks CC.

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