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It's CTA time!

By Alicia Dorr in News on Jan 15, 2007 7:37PM

Well, it's been an interesting couple weeks for CTA watchers. We won't touch another 776e88e5-68d2-42d7-9945-215280f67801.jpgargument about operating budgets with a ten-foot pole, but there really have been a lot of interesting, hilarious, and downright upsetting news regarding the agency lately.

Really, the best (and worst) has been the RTA movie snafu. A rather embarassed head of the Regional Transit Authority apologized today for a video that was shown to Metra officials last week that was supposed to be aimed at addressing the status of the authority's Moving Beyond Congestion campaign, but really just depicted CTA riders, CTA problems, etc. The blunder, caused by a mix-up in versions of the video, really shows the tight rope RTA officials have to walk on to make sure everyone is happy with transit, which, most of the time, it doesn't seem like they are.

We're pretty sure that the situation, which appears to be an honest mistake, will blow over — totally unlike the problems facing the CTA right now. As the authority juggles all sorts of improvement and construction projects while still attempting to maintain the same level of service, it was forced to announce that Brown, Purple and Red Line passengers should just start expecting pretty much double the commute time until late 2009. Needless to say, they really aren't taking it well.

The chief complaint, aside from the fact that its going to take everyone that much longer to get around, seems to be that Kruesi promised that all of the stations would be open throughout the construction projects, and has gone back on the promise. And that's just adding to already existing confusion surrounding the Brown Line project in general.

CTA enthusiasts generally point out that if they have a problem with service, riders should be contacting public officials to get something done about the funding problem CTA faces each year. It seems that people have been doing some complaining, only not to Springfield. Aldermen Joe Moore (49th) and Ricardo Munoz (22nd) have called for hearings on the state of the CTA, citing concerns from their constituents. It's not foie gras, but we hope debate among any public officials regarding the CTA will at least raise awareness about the problems, and even lead to the kind of positive change everyone is aiming for.

Lastly, a Washington Post writer compared the CTA to the Metro in D.C. and, from what we can tell, really didn't get it. We don't mean to pick on him, but he didn't seem to know — or at least explain to his readers — that there were subway stations in the city. He did seem to have a generally good experience with the CTA, which made us happy. You may not believe it, but we are actually fiercely loyal to the authority, even if we complain all the time.

Even if you want to burn our houses down, we're wondering what you think about all this fuss about the CTA. Do you wish you could gamble on the CTA? Do you leave your newspapers on it? Who's your favorite CTA worker? Oh, nevermind, we know it's that guy who blesses you when you get on and off the train.

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