The power of complaining to the CTA -- become a hero!

The power of complaining to the CTA -- become a hero!

I know most of us have bitched and griped about something
a CTA operator did or didn’t do. Or a pee-smelling station. Or an inattentive customer service attendant.

But I’ll bet chances are very high that most of us have never actually
complained to the CTA about it. (Robert notwithstanding.)

Well, Marylou complained. And refreshingly, she got some immediate action. And
her fellow passengers on the #2 Hyde Park Express now call her their hero. Her story:

Just wanted to share my pleasant experience with the CTA this week. For
months, service on the #2 Hyde Park Express had been getting
increasingly errant. My colleagues and I had all grown used to long
waits not to mention the occasional driver forgoing our stop by taking
59th instead of 60th or the mysterious #2 that makes no stops at rush
hour between Cottage Grove and Navy Pier.

With a few hours to kill
before happy hour one afternoon, I wrote a letter and submitted
it via the CTA’s site. I didn’t expect much. An hour later, I received
two responses-the first a stock confirmation of having received my
complaint and the second a request for more information.

But here’s
where it gets really good. Yesterday, when I reached the bus stop, two
uniformed gentlemen-with charts! -from the 77th street bus garage were
present. After determining that I had penned the letter, they told me
that they would be temporarily monitoring the stop to determine the
issue. It remains to be seen whether this will usher in a new era of
regular service at 60th and Blackstone but I’m hopeful and certainly
grateful for the helpful response.

Good stuff on both sides. See the jump to read her well-crafted letter.

An Open Letter to the #2 Hyde Park Express:

We want to like you, we do. Those of us left at your 60th and Blackstone
stop are, like the Marines, the few and the proud-steadfast despite the
occasional renegade driver careening past on the other side of the
Midway and, of course, the frequent and ever-in-demand shuttle making no
stops between Cottage Grove and Navy Pier. We want to like you but you
make it so difficult when, during rush hour, you fail to arrive for more
than forty minutes as happened yesterday afternoon, June 24. We know
that scourge known as Taste of Chicago has rerouted bus service downtown
and we will continue to weather these difficult times bravely. But here
is where you, my friend, can help. Given that the route begins just a
few stops west, regular service shouldn’t be an insurmountable goal.
Please consider making the changes required so that we may continue our
long friendship.


You Faithful Passengers at 60th and Blackstone


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  • Complaining to the CTA via their website or email does get attention. Give them as much detail as you can, especially run number, bus/train car number, employee's badge number, time/date, whatever you can give. I complained twice about a particular driver on the 155 bus passing my stop even when I had signaled in plenty of time, and the response was prompt and specific. It does make a difference. If you have a specific complaint or compliment, go ahead and send it to the CTA...people read it and act on it.

  • I've complained about numerous drivers.
    For a while, all my complaints were about drivers smoking on the buses at the end of the line. After the complaint to the CTA phone number, I would see those same drivers smoking on the sidewalk. I've also complained about drivers that refused to pull up to the curb when there weren't any cars blocking the stops.
    My most recent complaints were back in February, when the rotten drivers out of North Park decided to get back at CTA management for the cutbacks by treating the riders like shit for a couple of weeks.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Apparently based on what Scott said, your last one wasn't specific enough. You have to tell them that on run P???? at the corner of Marine and Gordon Terrace at 4:45 on Feb. 15, three shovels of ---[cow/horse/swine] manure were dumped on you by badge number XYZ123. Seriously.

    Also, it seems that there is a law against smoking on the buses (if you believe the stickers inside the bus). There isn't one against smoking on the sidewalk.

  • In reply to jack:

    I have no idea what you're responding about!
    I know exactly how to tell the CTA the bus #, the run # & the driver's #!
    I just didn't put the specifics in this post.
    And the complaints were about drivers smoking inside the buses at the end of the line. After the complaints, they smoked on the sidewalk, where they should have been doing it in the first place.
    Did you even read my post?
    It doesn't look like it!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    I read it. I took it that you were complaining that as a result of the first complaint, they were now smoking on the sidewalk.

    I guess you aren't the smoking police that some are.

  • I think it's important to send compliments about drivers, too. I should have sent one this weekend and didn't, and now I don't remember the run number or anything. A woman in a wheelchair was getting on and was a bit extra-particular about everything: bristled at being offered help up the ramp; insisted on parking on the left side of the bus; took a while to negotiate the left turn into the aisle; took a long time getting in place and ready to go. The driver was very patient and helped the whole time, got out of her seat to help with the wheelchair positioning, and made sure the wheelchair user was ready before going. Yes, the riders were getting impatient and the wheelchair user could have been a bit nicer about things, but the driver clearly had the wheelchair user's safety and comfort as a priority. I can imagine other drivers staying seated and leaving it up to passengers to do all the helping, and eventually yelling at the wheelchair user. This one chose the high road and deserved commendation, but I didn't think of it at the time!

    I'll also try to send a commendation next time a driver announces stops when the automated announcements don't work. Been a while since I've experienced that...most drivers just let it go, and it's up to everyone to figure out what stop is next.

  • CTA is actually very responsive if you take the time to reach out to them. I had complained about the lack of access to the Merchandise Mart station after the Mart itself has closed (you have to go around the entire building to a special security entrance) but the CTA recently added entrances to the Kinzie street stairways. I doubt I was the only one who had aired that complaint, but they do seem to listen. They also responded in a timely manner about a bus driver who didn't pick me up at a stop (he even waived at me as he went by... and the next bus was in 20 minutes!) Thanks CTA!

  • Perhaps you've never ridden a CTA bus as a visitor, or visually impaired, or on an unfamiliar route, or at night, or in a storm, or when it's packed with people. Stop announcements have been a basic task of the driver until they were automated, and they're still the driver's responsibility if the automated ones aren't working. I guess we should let visitors fight their way out of a packed bus after realizing too late that it's the stop they need. Nice.

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