Monday, March 8, 2010

CTA news

First off the CTA gets $1.5 Million for electrified vehicle stalls:
A $1.5 million federal grant for the construction of electrified vehicle stalls that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and unnecessary fuel consumption has been awarded to the Chicago Transit Authority.

The funding, from the U.S. Dept. of Transportation was announced by Sen. Dick Durbin's office on Friday.

The stalls constructed through this funding will deliver electrical power to up to 80 vehicles and provide services such as heating and air-conditioning to vehicles that would otherwise be left idling during overnight cleaning, a release from Durbin's office said. The electricity provided by the stalls will help reduce diesel consumption and emissions from parked buses in Chicago and suburban areas, which in turn will extend the availability of domestic energy supplies, reduce dependence on foreign sources of oil, and improve air quality, the release said.
I think it's great to be environmentally friendly, perhaps this money should be used towards cutting down on the financial problems at CTA. Why get money to buy new equipment since times are very tight now?

Also from the Tribune CTA bus driver's pay is the 3rd highest in the nation!
At $28.64 an hour, the top wage rate for Chicago Transit Authority bus drivers ranks third-highest among U.S. transit agencies, according to an analysis conducted for the Tribune.

CTA bus drivers trail only their counterparts at two transit agencies operating on opposite coasts. The top hourly salary for bus drivers at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority in Boston leads the industry, at $30.18; while the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority in San Jose, Calif., pays bus operators with the most seniority $28.86 an hour, according to John A. Dash & Associates, a transit research firm in Havertown, Pa.

But the rankings catapult CTA bus drivers to elite status — the highest-paid in the nation — when the cost of living in the Chicago area is compared with the Boston and San Jose markets. That was the case in 2008 as well — before the last two CTA pay raises — when an internal study by the Amalgamated Transit Union, the labor union that represents CTA bus drivers, ranked CTA drivers No. 3 overall in top hourly pay and No. 1 when the Consumer Price Index was taken into account.

Drivers strongly defend their pay at a time when the transit agency's management is demanding they give up raises and take furlough days to close a budget deficit and end cuts that slashed bus service by 18 percent in February. CTA bus driver Pat Mojarro said transit employees "are worth at least $150 an hour" because of the responsibilities and potential dangers of the job.

"We are verbally and physically attacked every day. We are expected to be police, homeland security, lost and found, maintenance, doctor and psychiatrist for the public," Mojarro said. "Add that up and see how much we are underpaid."
Which reminds me of this story from the CTA Tattler:
Jim shared the story: The #65 Grand was headed west, when a man with a walker signaled he wanted to get off at State Street to connect with the Red Line. The driver blew past the Red Line stop because the bus stop was removed due to construction on the new station at Grand.

When the man with the walker asked the driver why he didn't stop, and how hard was it to get back to State Street, Jim said the driver replied: "Tough ti**ies!" You should have taken the Pace car!"

This prompted some hootin' and hollerin' from the other bus passengers:

"You should have been the one who was laid off," screamed one passenger.

Another yelled: "Fire all of you and get some folks that will take pride in their work and will be grateful to have a job!"

One more shouted: "It is all yours and the union's fault for this transit mess. Shame on you and your brothers!"
Hmmm, is anyone out there upset about the troubles at the CTA? Are you this close to taking it out on the employees?

Well I don't want you to do anything rash, but note anytime any employee of CTA aren't being particularly customer friendly. In that story it appears to be the case that the driver wasn't customer friendly.

Another post from CTA Tattler is of adapting.
It's now been a full month since CTA bus service was cut by almost 20% and train service by about 10%.

What, you had forgotten?

We humans are a very evolved animal species, so we can adapt well. And it's a damn good thing, because folks, those cuts are NOT coming back.
Well I still can't say I've had a tough time getting around on CTA after the cutbacks. But O'Neill at CTA Tattler is right. It's very likely that those cuts aren't coming back, but we do know that good times will return. When they do hopefully CTA will do well under better management. Let's try to be optimistic.

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