Weekend news pickup: CTA union grievances; aborted "escape" on #22 Clark

I was out of town Thursday through this past weekend, visiting friends in New Hampshire. If you think we’ve got it bad with service cuts, try living without power in your home for a few days, as at least a third of the people in the Granite State had to do after Thursday night’s tornado-force winds.

Of course, I did miss some CTA developments, so I’ll try to catch up a bit this morning.

Union grievances, lawsuit threats. The two CTA operators unions
filed grievances alleging work-rule violations last Thursday, and
threatened lawsuits — primarily in disputes involving overtime payments
and work rules. The only good news from late last week is that it
appears the bus union president has definitely backed away from strike

NYT analysis shows no bias in services cuts. Despite the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s claims, the CTA service reductions do not disproportionately affect low-income and minority areas of the city, according to a New York Times analysis of transit, racial and economic data. Really, let’s put away this nonsense forever. Here’s how the CTA told me they picked routes for cuts.

Gov. Quinn: Free rides reduction won’t pass Senate.
Our governor is skeptical that the House bill to apply means testing for seniors to get free transit rides will pass the Senate. “The legislature made a decision on this a year or two ago, I think once you
make a decision and people, you know, expect some predictability in life, I
think that’s the way to go,” Quinn said. Prove him wrong, senators.    

Why no fanfare on Grand-State rehab? The Chicago
Reader last week asked this
: “When you’re spending $67 million on an engineering
marvel like the Grand/Red Line stop, why not brag a little?” The answer
is: Well, maybe we should. And the rest of the story describes why the
project is so much more difficult than the similar rehab at Chicago and
State stop. The project started in 2008 and is set to be completed late
in 2011. Earlier
CTA Tattler coverage.

robber makes aborted getaway on #22 Clark.
After allegedly
robbing a bank near Chicago and State, Kenneth Wilson
flagged down a #22 Clark bus
and boarded with bag of cash trailing
red smoke from a dye pack. Cops on a robbery detail nearby stopped the
bus and apprehended Wilson after he politely disembarked using the back
exit. No word yet whether it was sheer luck that Wilson caught the
elusive Clark Street bus, or whether he timed his criminal hijinks using
the popular Bus


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  • It has to be pure luck that the bank robber caught a 22 bus.
    The service on Clark is probably worse than even before Bus Tracker started.
    20 minute waits are no the norm & 35-40 minute waits are not uncommon. The worst is to be waiting at Irving Park & Clark & see half a dozen #80 buses heading east all just 5 minutes apart before one 22 shows up.
    If there was any service bias in the cuts, Clark got the worst of it!

  • It's worth noting that service reductions applied equally across all income groups will nevertheless have a worse impact on poorer people because they often don't have the option of escaping harm by jumping in a car, or because their commutes are already much longer. This is an issue of class, not of race - but given that class inequality in Chicago is highly correlated with race, it's not surprising that some people might conflate the two. That's not very helpful, but it's certainly no worse than completely ignoring the shocking inequalities that structure everything about this city.

  • The Governor continues to go out of his way to demonstrate his lack of a pair. Of course it's always easier to blame the Legislature than to take a stand. Get with it, most seniors who earn more than the Circuit Breaker cutoff SHOULD pay half fare if they take transit. When his own party barely gives him 50% of the vote for a nomination, he should question how effective he has been for the last year and change. Check out Sunday's op-ed in the Chicago Tribune for how the state can avoid hiking our income tax. Perhaps the Governor can embrace these changes and possibly get re-elected in November, otherwise he's doomed, no matter who the Republican nominee is.

  • The Trib's fantasy of balancing the budget without raising taxes would represent a huge decline in the standard of living for most Illinois citizens, gutting essential social services to the state's most vulnerable residents, dumping the desperately needed capital plan, passing on hundreds of millions of dollars in costs to already hard-pressed localities, degrading education, and attacking some of the only remaining middle class jobs in state govt. The alternative is raise taxes on those who can afford it. How blinded by selfishness or ideology do you have to be to balance the budget on the backs of those already worst served by our society instead of asking for limited sacrifice from those who are most comfortable?

  • In reply to razetheladder:

    Localities need to start cutting their costs spurred on by the State supplying less budget to them, otherwise they won

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