CTA stories you might have missed over the Christmas holidays

That long Christmas / New Year’s holiday break from work and school is ending for most of us. But that doesn’t mean the CTA has gone dormant. Quite the contrary. If you had your nose buried in a snowdrift, here are some of the CTA stories you may have missed over the last two weeks.

CTA pays $148,000 in red-light ticket fines. Since 2010, the CTA has paid the city of Chicago $148,000 in fines its bus drivers have accumulated at intersections “patrolled” by red-light cameras. Bus drivers can face discipline, but do not have to pay the fines directly.

Apprentice rail cleaning program ends. The CTA and its union couldn’t come to an agreement on pay for ex-offenders enrolled in the CTA rail-car cleaning program, so it ended Dec. 31. Darn shame. UPDATE: The CTA and union announced Thursday that the apprentices will be shifted to cleaning buses.

Ventra failures cost CTA $1.2 million in lost fares. The CTA gave away more than $1 million in free fares by waving passengers past bus fareboxes and through turnstiles. More than 930,000 free rides were given out from October through Dec. 19, the CTA reported. The CTA is seeking reimbursement for the lost fares, mostly on buses.

CTA planning chief will lead CDOT. The CTA’s chief planning officer will take over on an interim basis the city’s Department of Transportation. Rebekah Scheinfeld, who oversaw the planning of the successful $425 million reconstruction of the south branch of the Red Line, will take over in late January.

CTA year in review: Be sure to check out the Top 5 non-Ventra stories from 2013, plus all the Ventra fail news from 2013.

Cheery CTA motorman retires. Perhaps the saddest news is the retirement of popular CTA motorman Michael Powell. Well, sad for us riders, whom he entertained with his cheery banter, but a happy day for him personally. Powell was known for bringing smiles to the faces of tired commuters after a long day of work or school. I leave him with salutations that is he often gave us: “May the force be with you, Michael.”

CTA motorman Michael Powell wished CTA riders a great day for the last time on Dec.31.  (Chicago Tribune photo by E. Jason Wambsgans / March 30, 2009)

CTA motorman Michael Powell wished CTA riders a great day for the last time on Dec.31. (Chicago Tribune photo by E. Jason Wambsgans / March 30, 2009)

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  • 1. The $148k is probably new, but the issue was hashed around in the legal portions of chicagonow.com in its early days. In any event, unless the discipline is otherwise effective, one tax supported unit of government should not be supporting another.

    2. This seems a simple issue of that union members are not going to allow a two tier wage structure that may threaten members' jobs.

    3. Other sources (such as the Sun Times) indicated that Cubic said it was good for it. So, CTA didn't lose the money. In the meantime, Cubic still isn't being paid, if we believe press reports.

  • So, they are forfeiting any lost fares before Oct 1st? 28% of the riders were using it (I assume they averaged it out over the whole month), which is certainly a large amount, with the numbers probably rising significantly as you get to the end of September.

    I have no way of calculating these, but based on my circumstantial evidence, I think these numbers are low. What about the time where they literally opened the gates at certain stops during rush hours? That has to add up pretty quickly.

  • In reply to chris:

    The article wasn't clear about that, but the indication was that it was mostly U Passes and student cards. If passes, CTA got the money anyway, and if not passes, the loss would be about 35 cents per boarding,*

    The incident when the large number of machines in the L stations went down at once was much later.

    *Considering (as I had earlier indicated) that the math is based on $1.20 per unlinked trip, not the $2.25 cash originating fare on which earlier reports were based.

    And, of course, the self proclaimed transit advocates will say anything to get into the paper.

  • On the various bus rides I took Monday & Tuesday, almost everyone was getting the same response with their Ventra cards, mine included.
    First try was STOP, but within 1 second. Second try was GO, but it took the system a couple of seconds to reset the reader before you could tap again.
    I'm still wondering how they're figuring whether it's within the .05 second time limit.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    As I said before, I'm guessing that the two taps were both considered "good" because they responded in less than 2.5 seconds. Of course, it took more that 2.5 seconds to get through the turnstile, which is why the metric is basically useless. The real metric should be, how long does it take to get a 'Go' for a *valid* fare card/account? Responding to a valid card with a 'Stop' within 2.5 seconds is useless.

  • I'm glad Michael got to retire and I hope he enjoys his free time.

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