"The ride to hell" starts with the #22 Clark bus

Sean Flannery (hat tip to another Irishman) wrote me recently to share his own post on “How I will ride to Hell – the #22 Clark bus”. An excerpt from his post:

I ride the CTA everyday -which is Hell- and I have found its “special place”: The #22 Clark Bus.
If the Chicago Transit Authority had to take over Hell (which would be a minimal change in service),
I have no doubt that the serial killers would be sent to ride the #22, where one waits all day
for a bus that never shows, refusing -the whole time- to enter passing cabs
(or to even start walking) because you mistakenly think you see the lights of the next bus just
over the horizon.

And he reminds us that “The Clark Bus is so unreliable, the CTA could not add it to their
bus tracking website for several years because it crashed “the prediction algorithm.”

I love this photo/drawing he posted as his site.



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  • Here's how to tell you're really in Hell: You get on a bus and none of the seats face forward, or any that do are either 5 feet or 5 inches off the ground, or else have NO space for feet between the front of the seat and the next vertical object. All the rest of the seats on the Hell bus are configured sideways, backwards, upside down or in another dimension.

    I think I have been on this bus a few times. It was torture.

  • In reply to CCWriter:

    And, of course, the 406 new L cars are supposed to have similar seating, except not the new wider seats on the buses.

    What ever happened to the days of the leather upholstered seats on the 2200s? Long ago, and oh so far away....

  • In reply to CCWriter:

    I used to live in any as area not far from the Lincoln Park Zoo where I could take either the 22 or 36 bus downtown -- or the reverse trip from downtown. I always hoped that the bus to come along was the 22 as I considered the 36 the zoo bus, not because it ran close to the Zoo but because of the passengers. I thought the 22 was a classier bus line.

  • In reply to CCWriter:

    Everyone in this town thinks the bus they ride most often is the worst bus line in town.

  • In reply to CCWriter:

    As a long time critic of the 22, I think it got much better since Bustracker went live for it.
    I also think that they added runs to the route to improve service.
    And on Feb 7, they will decrease the runs & turn the 22 back into the disaster like it was before.

    But as bad as the 22 is, was & will continue to be, I also ride the 4, & it's worse, much worse.
    The longest daytime wait I've had on Clark in the last 3 years has been 25 minutes & that was only once, otherwise I've had a few 20 min. waits.
    But on the 4, I've had numerous 25 minute waits & a few 35 min. waits. This bus is a total disaster.
    I think it's the 5th longest non-express route in the system.
    It's screwed up by the insane Michigan Ave. traffic downtown & the scammers that want to ride for free south of 35th St.

  • I remember hearing a lot of talk about how the CTA was delaying putting the 22 on bus tracker out of fear data would be collected on how bad the route was. Anything come of this?

  • In reply to aczysz:

    Andly, follow the link I posted to Carole Brown;s old blog, and you'll find this:

    "There are a small number of routes that do not pass our prediction accuracy testing (including the #22 as has come up here often). As customers know, CTA has various types of routes: circulators, express, cross-town arterials, etc. The prediction algorithm in the Bus Tracker program can perform very differently on the different types of routes. For example, some of the downtown circulators (the 120s) confound the algorithm because the first timepoint on the trip is also the last timepoint, and is also the first timepoint for the next trip. Each route can fail accuracy testing for different reasons, so it requires a fair amount of sleuthing and coordination with the vendor and then our planning staff to identify the resolution. In fact, this schedule/communication issue is one of the most time consuming efforts before we are able to turn on a street for Bus Tracker."

  • In reply to aczysz:

    You are a funny man, Sean Flannery. I think Samuel Beckett, yet another Irishman, would appreciate a production of "Waiting for Godot" either on the #22 or at a stop that serves the #22 and #36, which is another bus ride in, to, and from hell.

  • In reply to aczysz:

    And while Kevin's quote from Brown's blog is well taken, that notion was mostly a cynical whine on the old Tattler site by people who thought their bus should have been on the Tracker before anyone else's.

    Only the CTA has a large set of data, but anecdotally, even I've been surprised by how accurate the 22 bus predictions are on the Tracker for the area between Peterson and Fullerton.

  • What they did in Evanston was put jack stands under the viaducts.

    Of course, you have to wonder whether CTA has inspectors, like the ones in Indiana that shut down the Cline Ave. bridge before it collapsed. According to the story, Noelle Gaffney claims they do, but I don't trust her.

    Of course this is not a new story; I remember it being reported about 3 years ago. Probably just on a blog, though.

  • In reply to jack:

    Numerous viaducts in Edgewater have been reinforced with steel jacks. I saw them doing yet another one two weeks ago!
    But a collapse is highly unlikely due to the low weight of CTA cars [45 tons max] versus the 100 ton coal hoppers that the CTA carried over the viaducts to Lill Coal up to the early 1970s.

  • In reply to jack:

    right now there is over a mile gap between busses south of Chicago Ave.

  • In reply to arleach:

    You could close that gap easily on stilts! I hope you get the reference.

    Actually the biggest gap on Clark is around 5:30AM - 6:30 AM northbound. For some insane reason, all the buses are sent out from North Park east on Foster, north on Western to Touhy/Rogers & then the Howard terminal to start.
    They need to send a few straight down Foster to Clark & head north. Huge NB gaps at that hour.

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