Emanuel on CTA pass increase, "choosing to drive" - did he really say that?

Did Mayor Rahm Emanuel really say that about the increase in CTA passes coming on Jan. 14? Why, I believe he did.

Rahm, like CTA President Forrest Claypool, are sticking to the party line that fares are not going up, even though the 55% of commuters who buy weekly and monthly passes will see 22 percent and 16 percent increases, respectively. The pols keep saying – truthfully – that the base fare is staying the same. I just wish they would also note more than half of commuters will pay more – and say why.

“Fares stayed the same. Basic fares stayed the same, which you cannot say about gas prices,” the mayor said at a press conference today.

But to me, that’s not the worst thing he said. Emanuel said “commuters can ‘make that choice’ about whether to drive or take buses and trains.”

I truly hope he was joshing us, because very few commuters really CAN make that choice. Emanuel knows parking a car in the Loop alone is out of reach of many Chicagoans. So they most certainly will NOT make that choice. At this writing, my informal, unscientific click poll shows that 65 percent support the increase in price for weekly and monthly passes.

Thus, most commuters will almost gladly pay a few dollars more a month for that pass.

So really Mr. Mayor, can’t you just say that?


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  • No he can't.

    There seems something holy about claiming not to raise fares, and compounded by Peterson saying that there won't be a fare hike for at least to 2015.

    It is also clearly Emanuel, in that the school CEO said about the same thing with regard to school closings, but it was pretty clear from the reports that it was Emanuel's policy and he told her to say it.

    Then, next year, Claypool or his successor can purportedly do something else to the fare structure, and Emanuel will still say that it isn't a fare increase.

  • ... in fact he implied as much in the televised remarks, when he said "the base fare is $2.25 and it is going to stay $2.25 until 2015."

    Doesn't mean that he can't change the base fare for using the bus with a card from $2.00 to $2.25, of quit allowing transfers at all, thereby tripling the fare without affecting the base fare. Stay tuned.

  • Didn't even try to explain nor try to promote carpooling/vanpooling/biking as an alternative to either of the above.

    I hope he realizes this his "Let them eat cake" moment might change the way he thinks before he speaks...

  • In reply to MetroShadow85:

    He doesn't get as much of the increased parking tax with those.

    And he has had a lot of "let them eat cake" moments lately, such as on Lincoln Ave.

  • In reply to MetroShadow85:

    He does promote biking pretty heavily with lots of added bike lanes throughout the city.

  • In reply to chris:

    I'll take bike lanes seriously as soon as it's illegal to park in a bike lane.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    Park in a bike lane? I've yet to see that, but I'm guessing you have. Bikes lanes always seem to be between any parking and the traffic lane.

  • In reply to chris:

    To assure that the bicyclist gets whacked by the left door of a car.

    At least in Chicago there is a lane, as opposed to some suburbs where the bike symbol is just painted on the traffic lane.

  • In reply to chris:

    PARK in a bike lane, as in take the key out of the ignition and definitively walk away? I haven't seen that either. But "hover" in the bike lane -- sometimes large trucks, sometimes with the driver out of the car with the hazard blinkers on, and sometimes for several minutes? Yep, I've seen that many times.

  • I've explained this to my mother at least annually for the last 20+ years, but even if I owned a car, I would still commute via CTA. If I had a car the first thing I would have to do is put myself on a waiting list for a parking place, then pay work for the privilege of parking on its property.

  • "very few commuters really CAN make that choice. Emanuel knows parking a car in the Loop alone is out of reach of many Chicagoans. So they most certainly will NOT make that choice."

    Prefacing by saying that (1) using the CTA will still be cheaper than driving and parking downtown, (2) I personally won't park downtown for all the tea in China, and (3) I "voted" for the increase in the poll,* Rahm's statement doesn't sound so outlandish to me.

    From a morning-rush Metra or Blue Line train, the inbound Kennedy doesn't exactly seem empty of private cars (not taxis, trucks, buses, etc.) with only one or two heads visible, and most of the cars I see entering and exiting downtown parking garages are not luxury cars. A few hundred-thousand people who don't seem to be Rockefellers are right now (pre-increase) choosing NOT to use transit (or a bike, or carpooling) to get downtown.

    I don't think its doing violence to either logic or the English language to say that people who own a car but commute by train, and especially people who use park-and-ride, are CHOOSING to ride a train. The fact that the calculus (of money definitely and time usually) makes it an EASY choice doesn't make it a forced decision as it would be for someone who doesn't have a car and can't afford one.

    *I think the 7-day and 30-day passes are still "worth it" for most people post-increase. However, the 1-day pass increase is steep, and combined with the fact that you can't buy one in a CTA station it leads me to believe that the CTA doesn't like one-day passes and raises the question of why they don't simply get rid of them outright rather than subjecting them to death by a thousand cuts. And while I agree in principle with the O'Hare surcharge, this particular fare seems steep to me. Yes, airline travelers generally can afford it, especially compared to a taxi, limo, or Super Shuttle, but not everyone going to and from O'Hare is an airline passenger.

  • In reply to jbredin:

    As I said earlier, those working at O'Hare will have to decide whether a 7 or 30 day pass is a better deal.

  • One more thing: the ability to afford something is relative, and not just to income. Two people with the same income and household size can decide differently on whether something is "worth it" based on their priorities and preferences. Where I work, most everyone takes transit to work, including the department head. But one employee -- near the bottom of the organization chart, mind you -- chooses to drive and park downtown daily at considerable expense.

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    Typical Chiago politian.... A Horses Ass

  • fb_avatar

    Tell me Chicago why did you vote this Idiot into office

  • In reply to Gina Phillips:

    Since Chicagoans believe in one party rule, the only relevant question is "What Would Gery Chico Do?" assuming that he had won, as opposed to being another loser who got a state job from Quinn.

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    Not the point if its worth it or not,
    Its the way he speaks "AT" the people of Chicago.
    Pompous Napoleon Complex ......

  • In reply to Gina Phillips:

    The Tribune reported this afternoon that while he said he was trying to explain his remarks, essentially he didn't "back away" from them. Nor will he.

    There was also a story essentially saying that he isn't backing down on the Lincoln Ave. bus, despite various small businesspeople collecting petitions to retain it. The article quoted a person who said, "This board didn't even pretend to listen.... They're not only not listening. They're disrespectful, feeling smug because they're appointed, not elected." Of course, the real issue is that they are Emanuel's puppets, not a board exercising oversight.

  • Link for the second story.

  • Of course he said that. He is a liberal Republican at heart.

    Seriously though, having lived in London a city FAR larger and more complex than Chicago and where the Tube generally shuts down at midnight (with expanded, cheaper-to-run bus service operating in "off hours"), I find ZERO reason why the "El" needs to run all night and why monies can't be saved for the entire system (expansion and maintenance) and for the "masses" in a way that looks more like London!

  • In reply to Ameriviking:

    At one time, it was believed in Chicago that the L was the most efficient mode at night. That was cut back some time in the 1980s or 1990s, with now only the Red and Blue Lines running all night. Still it takes only one operator to run a 4 car train every half hour.

    Another indicator of trends is that the Evanston Wilmette shuttle used to run overnight, as it was an L essentially running as a 1 man street car. However, when fare collection went to the magnetic card system, the N201 bus was substituted, which now is being killed.

  • In reply to Ameriviking:

    Other current indications of this change are that the N20 bus was extended to Harlem-Lake to cover the Green Line terminal, and the N60 bus was extended to 54th-Cermak to cover the [now] Pink Line terminal.

  • In reply to Ameriviking:

    That green glow coming off your monitor is my envy. :-) I haven't lived in London but have traveled there, and in my opinion one of the huge differences between the two cities is how robust London's system of public transportation is. When we were there a couple of years ago a combination of breakdowns and construction often meant we had to change routes on the Tube, but what stood out for me was that we *could* change routes and get where we were going. A service disruption that might remove the CTA as an option in Chicago, or force us to drastically revise our plans, might get us to our destination 10 or 15 minutes later in London. In transportation, as in language, physiology, or ecosystems, a touch of that redundancy the CTA so ruthlessly prunes away makes a system resilient.

    If we had an extensive bus system that could take over late-night traffic in all or even most of the city's neighborhoods, rather than just a few mostly lakefront and mostly affluent areas, then the trains could shut down at midnight and those who needed or wanted to could still get around. But then, as the Russians used to say, if Granny had wheels she'd be a tram car ...

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