CTA rejects "load and go" edict from rail manager

Perhaps you've seen the scenario play out at you office.

A top manager one day hears her boss grousing about a work situation he doesn't like. Soon after, that manager issues an edict hoping to address the issue to her boss' satisfaction.

Problem is, she hadn't anticipated such a negative response from both the employees charged with carrying out the edict, and the customers it ultimately affected.

So the company disavowed knowledge of any such edict.

Now, I'm not sure if that's exactly what happened at the CTA with the "load and go" memo reported Tuesday by the Chicago Tribune. But it sounds awfully close.

The Trib reports that Marlene Taylor, the CTA's general manager of elevated lines, heard that President Forrest Claypool was unhappy with a rail operator standing too long at the Sedgwick Brown Line station.

So she issued a memo reminding all operator to quickly "load and go" at all station stops. Operators took that to mean they couldn't hold doors for the passenger they clearly  saw hustling up the stairs to make the train.

But once the Tribune starting asking about this "policy," the Trib said the  memo was "rejected" by Taylor's bosses.

"Ms. Taylor misunderstood the information she was given, and she misrepresented it in her email," said a CTA spokesperson in a statement to the Trib. " She is being reprimanded for this communication because this is not how we communicate changes in our operating policy."

That's good. And let's hope this policy doesn't change substantively, and operators have a little leeway to wait for customers running to get their train.


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  • The real question is whether Claypool was grousing about the delay because he is better than all but one other passenger on the Brown Line, or the supervisor was just acting based on gossip (which, based on what is posted on chicagobus.org, seems to be the way most people act at CTA).

    In fact the article indicates a bigger mess, in that somehow Claypool's remark was communicated to her ("Ms. Taylor misunderstood the information she was given"), and then you have Brian Steele saying there was no change in policy. And yet, she was a 25-year employee. And they trot out Steele rather than Claypool.

    Better that Hilkevitch brought it up than another stroller get stuck in the door and hurled to the tracks.

    This, again, shows the consequences of having a major organization without professional management, and apparently a supervisor thinking (in this case, incorrectly, her superior determined) that she had to brown nose the politician at the top. Some way to run a railroad.

  • I just wish that this policy was in effect in the rush hour for all SB Red Line trains at Belmont & Fullerton!
    We're all fed up with Red Line trains required to wait for Brown Line trains there, but the worst is when a Red Line is SB at Fullerton & has to wait for the exact same Brown Line Train it had to wait for at Belmont.
    Total insanity!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    They must be figuring that Rahm or Forrest wants to transfer. Or some politician who gets on at Wellington. Too bad if they have to wait 3 minutes for the next train.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    How long do they wait? Typically I would transfer on the northbound and found it convenient that they allowed people to walk across the platform to catch the train, but perhaps you're talking about waiting even longer.

  • I would think it would be standard practice to run something like this by the boss before making it policy.

  • Two comments:

    1) In some corporate cultures, it is considered better to try to read the boss's mind than to just ask him.

    2) They don't always wait. On a typical stealthily messed-up weekend on the Red Line, if you're trying to transfer to a Purple or Yellow train, you may be SOL. What they'll do is have the northbound Red train arrive at Howard on the wrong side, not bother to tell passengers that they have to cross over (going up and down the stairs), and even if you do figure it out, they won't hold he train for them. If that's not insanity, it's certainly meanness.

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