CTA responding to customer tweets in impressive fashion so far

As I mentioned Monday, the CTA is still finding its way on Twitter. And that’s fine. Experience is a good teacher on Twitter.

The CTA learned from a survey that its followers want info on ALL service alerts, not just minor ones. So it switched gears and now gives followers what it wants.

And the CTA is starting to respond to customers. Twitter user @Ryan_C_Miller, director of Campus Life at Illinois Tech, complained about some foul graffiti at the Western stop on the Forest Park Blue Line, posting the first photo. The CTA responded later that same day with a photo showing a clean map.

It will be interesting to see if the CTA sustains such customer engagement and response. But so far, so good.


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  • You might want to think about censoring the phone number.

  • In reply to Ray K:

    UM, yeah, good point. Thanks Ray. Done.

  • In reply to Kevin O’Neil:

    Based on Ray's point, you should have censored the number part.

  • One incident out of how many thousand tweets, customer service calls, etc.?

    I see Ray K's point. Apparently, to get that service, the Western-Milwaukee station would have been closer, based on the phone number.

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack, I suggest you follow CTA on Twitter. I could give other examples, but I chose not to. And certainly there are not thousands of tweets yet. They started a week ago.

  • In reply to Kevin O’Neil:

    Yeah like I have the time, and also to determine if the answer is responsive.

    I said thousands of Tweets and customer service calls. Maybe the CTA can pay someone to audit the responsiveness of their "customer service" operation, but given how "customer service" in most organizations is an oxymoron, there probably wouldn't be a point to spending that money. I guess the Tribune could do an FOIA on all the emails saying "we'll have the street supervisor of that route monitor that."

  • In reply to jack:

    Actually, dare I say, I've had mostly positive responses with CTA customer service--even call backs from mid-level managers when needed--and some problems apparently fixed. And Cheryl, below, is right, too--I use that station every day.

    But, Jack, you've already made your decision (as you always do), which is that it's much better to act like some poor man's Andy Rooney on a blog than actually get off your butt and do something. That's cool--it seems to work for you. Good luck with that method in the future.

  • In reply to vise77:

    Well, I mentioned on Monday something I actually did over the weekend. So, remain in your fantasy world if you are too lazy to read that.

  • In reply to jack:

    I received a wonderful call back about asking for the removal of a couple bus stops in my neighborhood. Talked with a person in charge of identifying such stops. He was very polite and explained the whole process, essentially saying that the CTA proposes things, but that it ultimately is decided by the alderman and community/block clubs. In fact he said he was going to be talking to my alderman soon about the bus stops in question on my route.

    They don't ignore everyone...

  • My neighbors and I got an entire platform replaced by taking pictures and sending them to the CTA.

  • The CTA can clearly retire all of the 2200 and 2400 series cars. However, at best they can use the 3200's + the remaining 18 to get down to around 206 2600 series left in service on the blue line. I'm questioning the logic of why they didn't purchase an additional 220 or so cars to move to a two version fleet vs having to keep the 2600's around and support them moving forward. Considering that their service life was estimated at 30 years, starting next year the first set of cars will be reaching their estimated service life. Hopefully the CTA can find some funding to exercise another option and retire the 2600's.

  • In reply to mustangthz:

    You can't figure out the CTA, especially since Kruesi said, when the order was first made that the cars were going to the Blue, and apparently that's the place they are not going, according to NBC5 News. In 2006, people figured that with 206 cars (the base order), that would take care of the 142 2200s, plus the about 60 cars that would be needed if the Brown Line went from 6 to 8 car trans at the same frequency it had before the New Start.

    Then, in making the initial award, the first option was exercised, getting it up to 406, and presumably to retire the 2400s.

    There was also the Airport Express consultants' report in 2006, which said that the last 84 cars were for that purpose, and would arrive in time for the Olympics. Then there was the Red Line Extension consultant's report, which also said that about 84 cars would be needed for that.

    Then the last options were exercised, for the announced reason that the time to exercise them would run out, and they would be $2.4 million a car instead of $1.4m.

    Then the bizarre allocation in various sources mentioned in chicagobus.org came up, apparently based on how far 706 cars will go, even though that is inconsistent with pronouncements in the President's Budget Recommendation, and especially with chicago-l.org with regard to fleet expansion.

    If you want to go through the whole "5000s arrive" thread on chicagobus.org, have at it.

    The practical questions are probably (a) would a car builder lock in more than 5 years worth of options, and (2) could the CTA get the bonding authority for (and retire) another billion in bonds?

  • In reply to jack:

    I should have added to the "bizarre allocation" paragraph, unless one is going to assume that the 2600s to be retired are to be mothballed, which would be the only way to get to chicago-l.org's figures, or that even if old cars were cleared off the lines mentioned by NBC5, they stick around for fleet expansion, but then you would have a mixed fleet on the Red if the to 130th expansion happened.

  • For the red line expansion they could pull 5000's off the orange and put them on red for the expansion, then put the 3200's back on Orange. Leaving Blue with all 2600s. The airport express is not likely to happen in my lifetime! In any event, there certainly going to have to look at long term storage for a significant portion of their 2600 fleet to keep as a reserve in case they get the money for redline expansion/airport express/whatever new pipedream comes up. Their strategy still doesn't answer the underlying problem that the 2600's are already coming to the end of their lifecycle and they do not have capital for another "mid-life" overhaul or replacement cars.

  • In reply to mustangthz:

    As far as storage, I noted on chicagobus.org that the 61st Yard is still there, and the 2012 Budget even proposes building a non-revenue car shop there. There is definitely surplus room at 54th (44 cars with a capacity for 108) and supposedly at Midway.

    It would also make more sense in your scenario for red Expansion to put the older cars on the Purple, since the Orange is used 18 hours a day, while the Purple Express (and hence maybe 76 of the 88 cars now assigned there) only 6 (the two rush hours).

    However, the only conclusion I can draw is that after going through 4 administrations since this contract was let (which, IMO is about 2 too many), CTA has lost its moorings. And, when one gets to the end of this allocation, will probably go through at least two more.

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