Top 5 (non-Ventra) CTA news stories of 2013

It was another interesting year of all kinds of news – good and bad – for the CTA.

The bad news was mostly Ventra-related. We’ll look at that on Monday.

Check out the photo gallery for the Top 5 other CTA news stories of 2013.


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  • 6. The continuing hatred of the seats on the 5000s. They're so bad, the CTA announced a more normal seating layout for the upcoming 7000s.
    But they refuse to change the seats on the yet to be built & delivered 5000s!

  • #5 and #1: Surprising that these were actually pulled off successfully, although in the case of #5 it waited until the last couple of hours, and #1 that there were not riots, preachers descending on City Hall, etc.

    #3: However, this sounds like a combination of the $0.5 billion Brown Line
    project and $100 million North Red Project, and hence not really fixing anything.

    #2. Da Mare said that there weren't fare hikes. I'm sure that's what he also said about the initially undisclosed "bank card is charged a full cash fare with no transfer" and "$3 Ventra ticket," too, but that's tomorrow's story.

    #4: It was mostly federal money and Loyola's doing.

    Of course, the real story:

    Once gone, Brizard exposed that the Mayor only deals with tools. Of course, the two biggest tools, including one admitted one (who unknowingly provided a reason to abolish the service board structure), are at the CTA.

  • I'm concerned with a couple of aspects of the Red Line south reconstruction. The big infrastructure one is that the crossovers just north of 31st Street and just south of the Cermak station were never replaced. It's still shop-worn wonky rail on limestone ballast. I walk over the 31st and 33rd bridges regularly and was wondering why on earth they weren't touching that little stretch. I'm still curious --- and convinced that they're going to have to do a significant closure on a couple of weekends sooner than we'd like to deal with these.

    The other big concern regards the 5000-series cars. Let's face it, when you have bench seating, the question of how large the seats are becomes much more important than it does when you have a pair suspended in splendid isolation with plenty of room for excess, er, baggage to overhang the edge. So, WHY DID THEY USE THE STANDARD SIZE BUCKET FROM A HALF CENTURY AGO rather than something that better reflects current levels of waist size? If they'd used a 19 or 20 inch form instead of the 16-odd they have, there would be very, very few complaints. Also about two to four fewer seats a car, but hey, you can't win 'em all. Sports stadium managers know this -- at the University of Iowa, when Kinnick stadium was significantly enlarged, the capacity remained around 70,500 because they determined they needed to stripe the bench seating for ten percent more room per fan simply due to how much bigger people are than when the stadium was built. I understand you have to have something underneath the floor to bolt the seats into, and this somewhat locks the CTA into aisle-facing seating on the 5000-series -- but that limitation does not affect the width of the seats. So, CTA, don't just make excuses. Do something about it. It's within your control. Right?

  • In reply to dblissmn:

    The seats are attached to the outer wall of the cars.
    The CTA lies & claims there's no possible way to install seats on the 5000s because there isn't a frame rail under the car for the aisle side of the seat to be supported with.
    That contradicts the fact that all the forward facing seats on all the buses are cantilevered out from the wall of the bus with an angled brace to support the seat & the rider on the aisle. I've seen 400 pounders sit there & there's no deflection in the seat!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Again, have you checked the underseat equipment?

  • In reply to jack:

    OK, there's a seat support about 6" from the wall, I forgot about it.
    But even that, proves the CTA is lying, as they insist, there's no way to support forward/backward seats on the 5000s.
    They could mount the cantilever brace to there, as there is obviously a frame rail under that point.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    You still haven't gotten my drift. Are, thee, for instance, heaters under the seats in their current configurations?

    I didn't say anything about where to put the supports. But, for instance, all now existing series of cars have longitudinal seats near the doors, because the heaters are under them.

  • In reply to jack:

    As far as I can tell, the heaters along the outside walls of the 5000s are the same as they've been since the 6000s.
    As for the buses, the 4000s have two wheelchair seats on the left side & lengthwise seats there & on the right side. But the heaters are only under the first wheelchair folding seats, with the same on the right side. So, one of the folding seat sets, could be moved to the right side & the seating area behind that, up to the wheel wells on both sides could be turned for forward facing seats.
    There are areas on the artics, in the trailer section, there are only 3 seats, but by turning them 90- degrees, they could fit 4 seats there & no corresponding loss of standing room.
    Then there is the bizarreness of whether or not there are seats over the Hubner joint in the artics.
    Why do some have a pair of inward facing seats there that are so close to the aisle, that it's difficult to pass & others have no seats & that weirdly shaped standee pole, which is difficult for short people to hold.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    This is an awfully confused post.

    No, the heaters have not been the same since the 6000s, unless there was something else between the forward and backwards seats in the middle of the 2200s (note that even though the seats were torn out, they were not reinstalled in the same pattern as in the 2400s and thereafter). In any event there is the box underneath the longitudinal seats on the 2400s-3200s.

    You have to stick you nose under the seats of the 5000s and see if there is anything there.

    Then you have to stick your nose under the cars to see where the supports are, which I know you won't be able to do.

    If you want to get into bus irrelevancies, the Pace Orion VIs have longitudinal seats in the front right, to the back door, again because there is equipment under there.

  • Note that what I'm talking about between Sox-35 and Cermak is two separate crossovers -- one is about 23rd street and the other is about 30th street. And both need replacement, in my view. It just seems very odd that it wasn't done.

  • In reply to dblissmn:

    Maybe that's what they did in 2005 for $250 million.

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