New CTA president saying the right things on taking the helm

New CTA President Dorval Carter Jr. is the first agency leader with transportation experience since I started this blog in 2004.

That’s a good thing.

And in his first extensive interview with the Tribune’s Jon Hilkevitch, he’s also saying all the things that I like to hear from a transit leader. Here are a few of them:

He will be regular CTA commuter. While he doesn’t currently ride as often as he would like, Dorval said as soon as he gets his family settled into their new home, he will ride the CTA on a regular basis.

Making the CTA an option of choice. Dorval rightly says that those who have to take the CTA daily no doubt will continue to do so. But it’s commuters who have other choices that he wants to convert to regular CTA riders.

Improving bus speeds. The new CTA chief notes that bus ridership is down, while rail ridership is growing. He thinks it has to do with how slow buses run. It should be interesting to see how increases bus speed.

Ashland BRT: a “delicate conversation.” Dorval thinks a bus rapid transit project on Ashland Avenue makes sense because it’s a “relatively small investment for the return you get on that.” But given the opposition the project has faced, Dorval knows “there are tradeoffs that you need to make between vehicular traffic and the bus in order to make it work. We need to have more conversations with the community and figure out how we can do something that will work.”

People talking loudly on cell phones are his biggest annoyance. Hear hear! I couldn’t agree more!


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  • I don't find bus speed to be the biggest issue, although extended boarding times due to the p*ss poor Ventra card has certainly lengthened the travel times. For me, the issue continues to be bus bunching, which results in extended waits for buses when you happen to miss the last bus in the conga line.

    Crowded buses are also an issue, but I assume that can be minimized if bus travel times are reduced, and the bus utilization increases.

  • While loud talkers are an annoyance, I don't run into them that frequently. For me, idiots blocking the doors, and refusing to step out to allow riders to exit/board is the biggest annoyance.

    A close 2nd would be the operators who have no clue how to operate the bus/train in a smooth manner. There's one particular operator on the Purple line that should be fired. He is constantly inching the train forward a few feet, and then heavily applying the brakes. He does this for long stretches of track on Wells St, and Franklin. Also, he has no clue how to stop the new 5000 series trainset. Coming into the stations, the last few feet are always a rapid deceleration, jerking the standing riders off their feet.

  • In reply to SpinyNorman:

    If you go back to the original, he was only trying to justify the car card campaign with the yuppie miscreants. See the Q before the A.

  • In reply to SpinyNorman:

    I happened to be on the Purple line yesterday, and my favorite operator was at the controls. Not unexpectedly, it was another ride on the slinky train. After he opened the doors at Merchandise Mart while the train was still moving, I vowed to report him to the CTA. I sent them an email this morning, and I just got off the phone with a supervisor discussing the incident, and the motorman's behavior at the controls. I appreciate them following up on my complaint.

  • In reply to SpinyNorman:

    Well, my favorite operator was on Skokie on Sundays, run 592. She always blasted the horn as the train got to the sidewalks of the grade crossings.
    Not very useful to wait that long.
    I've reported her a few times & she never changes. Maybe with it shut down until October, she'll stay reassigned to somewhere else that doesn't have grade crossings.

  • Other than saying something about training, he isn't saying anything new. For instance, I brought up the Ashland BRT a couple of days ago, and he said about the same thing Rebekah Scheinfeld said in Feb. 2014.

    He would be saying something new if he said what would be the source of federal funds he said would be available. As a former officer at DOT, he should know that.

    Clearly, he didn't say he was brought in by Emanuel to clean things up at CTA.

  • don't trust anyone Emanuel sends.

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