That long Christmas / New Year's holiday break from work and school is ending for most of us. But that doesn't mean the CTA has gone dormant. Quite the contrary. If you had your nose buried in a snowdrift, here are some of the CTA stories you may have missed over the last two weeks.
CTA pays $148,000 in red-light ticket fines. Since 2010, the CTA has paid the city of Chicago $148,000 in fines its bus drivers have accumulated at intersections "patrolled" by red-light cameras. Bus drivers can face discipline, but do not have to pay the fines directly.
Apprentice rail cleaning program ends. The CTA and its union couldn't come to an agreement on pay for ex-offenders enrolled in the CTA rail-car cleaning program, so it ended Dec. 31. Darn shame. UPDATE: The CTA and union announced Thursday that the apprentices will be shifted to cleaning buses.
Ventra failures cost CTA $1.2 million in lost fares. The CTA gave away more than $1 million in free fares by waving passengers past bus fareboxes and through turnstiles. More than 930,000 free rides were given out from October through Dec. 19, the CTA reported. The CTA is seeking reimbursement for the lost fares, mostly on buses.
CTA planning chief will lead CDOT. The CTA's chief planning officer will take over on an interim basis the city's Department of Transportation. Rebekah Scheinfeld, who oversaw the planning of the successful $425 million reconstruction of the south branch of the Red Line, will take over in late January.
Cheery CTA motorman retires. Perhaps the saddest news is the retirement of popular CTA motorman Michael Powell. Well, sad for us riders, whom he entertained with his cheery banter, but a happy day for him personally. Powell was known for bringing smiles to the faces of tired commuters after a long day of work or school. I leave him with salutations that is he often gave us: "May the force be with you, Michael."
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