New CTA operations team has almost 100 years of experience

The CTA’s top three bus and rail operations managers all came up through the ranks as bus or rail operators (they don’t call them “drivers”) and have almost 100 years of cumulative experience. 


Jeanette Martin was recently named chief operating officer. Her team is “responsible for ensuring that CTA’s bus and rail system continue to provide on-time, clean, safe and friendly service to the thousands of customers who rely on public transit,” according to the newest edition of the CTA’s email newsletter, @ the CTA.

“Twenty-eight years ago I began my career at the CTA as a summer bus operator while attending Columbia College,” said Martin. The CTA newsletter also reports that Martin is a 2009 Kathy Osterman Award winner, “an honor given to government employees whose devotion and commitment to superior public service have been recognized by their management and peers.” 

The guy in charge of bus operations is Earl Swopes, who started at the CTA almost 30 years ago as a bus operator. He previously was the general manager of the 103rd Street garage.

Edward Cook is responsible for rail operation. He started his CTA career as a conductor (remember them?) in 1974. He most recently served as general manager of the Red, Yellow and Purple lines.
Here’s where you can subscribe to the CTA e-newsletter.
(CTA photo: Earl Swopes (left), Jeanette Martin and Edward Cook)

Filed under: CTA in the news

Tags: COO, CTA, operations team


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  • Just because they've been at the CTA for years doesn't mean they're any good!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    I was starting to think along those lines, and it got reinforced by the PR speak quotations in the newsletter, to wit...

    "to ensure that our world class agency continues to deliver safe, reliable, clean and courteous service." Third world class, perhaps. There would be no CTA Tattler if, in fact, it was already delivering "safe, reliable, clean and courteous service." What about the controversy over cleaners being let go?

  • In reply to jack:

    I think that there still would be a CTA Tattler even if those conditions were true, although I think that it might be significantly less popular. In the earlier days of this blog Kevin tended to focus more on slice-of-life type stories. It seems that once the various "doomsday" scenarios started coming out that focus shifted onto the CTA itself.

  • In reply to eBob:

    With regard to slice of life, I was thinking more about stuff under "scary shit" that is attributed to the CTA, such as the driver being discourteous to a disabled rider, or vomit seat, than mere passenger eccentricities, such as yesterday's rider with a chihuahua carrier.

    What would surprise me is that, instead of the platitudes put into these supervisors' mouths by Sheila Gregory and staff, one of them would have actually said "after 30 years of working here, I actually know how to fix some of the problems."

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    You guys are pretty harsh. I highlighted this for the very fact that people complained about Rodriguez being hired with no transportation experience. So I note this because I like the fact that we have very experienced people in charge here.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    Mass transit experience isn't required to run the CTA, common sense & basic intelligence is!
    I know that any of the high level execs at Southwest Airlines could step in & do the job. Sure, SWA is a much different operation & culture, but that's most of what's wrong at the CTA. The culture.
    There's no demand from the political bosses, specifically Mayor Shortshanks, to be any good. Just look at the city's failed Olympic attempt: The plan to move all the visitors around envisioned special buses & lanes for them, not fixing the CTA!

    The CTA is a failed transit operation!
    For the CTA to call itself a "world class agency" is an insult to every other transit system in the world! I've talked to people that have ridden in NYC, London, Singapore, Hong Kong, Paris, Berlin & dozens of other cities. Every single person calls the CTA the worst public transit they've ever seen!
    Even Los Angeles is better!
    It's painfully obvious that none of the current CTA management actually rides the system as we do, meaning to work, to shop or the doctor. If they did, there would be huge changes in operations, many of which wouldn't cost anything & many that would cost very little to make real improvements.
    What's needed is new blood from outside that will rip apart all of the current dead wood.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    Damned if you do; damned if you don't, Mr. Tattler.

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