CTA to offer naming rights; Santa is riding the rails; and other items of note

The transit agency next week will issue a Request for Proposals for
companies interested in naming rights to L stations, rail lines, bus routes, special services or events and retail space. We
suspect Apple will be the first in line for rights to the North/Clybourn
station. The stipulation for first naming rights was included in its $4
million contract to rehab the North/Clybourn station house, which is
next door to its newly opened Apple store. So, give us some ideas on potential station, bus or rail line names.

Free rides under more scrutiny. Leadership in the state Legislature is
promising to take another crack at eliminating free rides for senior
citizens, now that the election is over.
This come in the wake of news that free rides could cost as much as $162 million per yeard by 2030.

Sprint/Nextel customers gain subway cell access.
The CTA inked a deal with Sprint/Nextel to lease its subway communications lines and offer customers data and cell service in the subways. It is the sixth cell service provider to offer subway service. The CTA will receive about $3.1 million under the 10-year contract.

Santa Claus is coming to rails. The much-loved CTA Holiday Train kicks
this Christmas season on Sat., Nov. 20 on the Red Line and Purple Lines. Stay tuned
for details of this year’s CTA Tattler Holiday Train outing. See the
continuation for full schedule. And check out my photos from last year’s Tattler Santa Tweet-up

Santa on Santa Train 1.jpg

About half of laid-off workers back at work. Due to retirements or resignations, the CTA “has been able to rehire 400 workers, and have another 90 in the pipeline,” CTA President Richard Rodriguez told the board Wednesday.

2011 budget approved. Oh, and by the way, the CTA board also OKed the 2011 budget of $1.337 billion. It maintains current service and fare levels.

Schedule for Holiday Train

  • November 20 & 21 – Red and Purple Lines
  • November 24, 26 & 27 – Green Line
  • December 1 -:Pink Line
  • December 2-4 – Blue Line
  • December 8-11 – Brown and Orange Lines
  • December 15 – Red Line
  • December 16 – Purple Line
  • December 17 & 20 – Red Line
  • December 21 – Purple Line
  • December 22  – Yellow Line


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  • By 2030, I'm convinced that all of your readers will be eligible. Me much sooner. Quinn might have even bought off enough voters to stay in office that long, but what happens when the last taxpayer closes the door behind her?

  • On the innovation award, CTA should be commended for developments of the consumer side of BusTracker, given the various iterations and developer tools. I compare that to something like Pace, which had a 4 or 5 day outage to upgrade its software, but didn't upgrade its incomplete data.

    Now the question is: are CTA supervisors effectively utilizing the supervisory side of BusTracker? We know they have it, but have they any effective means of using it to resolve bus bunching?

  • In reply to jack:

    The Bus Tracker has changed the way I use the CTA for the better. I'm glad to hear they were recognized for the innovation. I'm hoping the Train Tracker will have equally similar results.

  • In reply to jack:

    Glad to hear that Madigan is taking up the issue of free rides. With his weight behind it, it might have a chance at passing.

  • In reply to jack:

    i'm not sure what makes the CTA think companies will be interested in buying naming rights for their properties when companies don't even seem to be interested in existing advertising space.

    "This is is a Red Line/Currency Exchange train to 95th. Transfer here for Blue Line/Don't Let Your Kids Fall Out Of Open Windows trains."

  • In reply to jack:

    Ah, yes, that magical time of the year when I can put away the fretting about transit policy for a while and get in touch with my inner three-year-old.

  • In reply to jack:

    I'm kind of pro-naming rights, as long as they aren't confusing. I wouldn't mind riding the UPS Brown Line, but if stations are named w/o regard to where they are or what line they serve, then I'm against it.

  • In reply to jack:

    HA! Vindication! I had emailed Sprint back in January of this year, asking if/when we could expect service in the subway here in Chicago. I got two replies insisting that they did, in fact, have service here, and that I should 1. check the zipcodes on their coverage map for service (which refers to above-ground service, hello) and 2. reset my phone because "it could be a hardware problem." Idiots.

    Sorry, just had to rant about that in a subject-appropriate place. Glad we're getting service at some point. Carry on.

  • Sprint's finally available in the subways and I'm no longer in Chicago. Typical. And now the Santa Train is back ... why did we move?

  • Selling naming rights is such a bad idea. I know they need the cash, but it comes at a huge cost for riders. The system will be so much more confusing if the stations and routes no longer denote their location.

    I guess I can live with an Apple North / Clybourn stop, but just an Apple stop will be incredibly confusing (and what happens what that store leaves?). I hope the CTA doesn't go through with this.

  • From the article:

    "Any senior citizen living in the Chicago area has paid their share of taxes already, and it won't hurt to give them free rides, said Beryl Clemens, former president of Metro Seniors in Action, an advocacy group.

    Taking away free rides for seniors "is a bunch of B.S.," Clemens said. "The whole bus is empty. It's not costing them anything. We ride along with everyone else."

    What CTA is she referring to where the buses are empty? I pay taxes, but that doesn't mean I should not have to pay for the CTA. That woman is nuts.

    Also, I'm not a fan of selling off naming rights, except in select instances. I'm OK with selling the Addison and 35th Red Line stops to the baseball teams they serve, and possibly stops that are next to Universities.

  • In reply to chris:

    I'm tired of seniors ripping up the ladder for the next generation. The vast majority of the spending problems in government today are from senior-related programs going over budget, in other words, over the amount they've paid in. If everyone cut off their taxes after getting their kids through school and taking early retirement we'd be sunk as a country. The WWII generation got that. This generation of seniors doesn't get it at all.

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