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CTA, Unions Talk as Transit Cuts Loom

By Lindsey Miller in News on Feb 2, 2010 7:00PM

2010_01_27_CTA.jpg By now you've probably heard: the CTA is planning big cuts in service and jobs beginning Feb. 7. That means nine express bus routes will be eliminated completely, 119 bus routes and every rail line except the Yellow Line will run less frequently, and 41 bus routes will have reduced hours of operation. And that's not to mention the more than 1,100 CTA employees who stand to lose their jobs. If you're like us, you're dusting off your bike even though it's February; if you're like some of our readers, you may be getting fed up with the city altogether.

However you choose to prepare for the cuts, don't be too surprised if Feb. 8 comes around and your favorite express bus route is still running. A slight glimmer of hope came this weekend when CTA President Richard Rodriguez said he would accept a union offer of saving $80 million through unpaid furlough days and deferred 2011 wage increases, but that it hadn't been brought up in negotiations.

Rodriguez also said he plans to enlist help from Chicago Federation of Labor President Dennis Gannon, who recommended last week that the CTA unions agree to do whatever is necessary to save the 1,100 jobs and stop service cuts. That's after Darrell Jefferson, president of Amalgamated Transit Union 241 that serves bus drivers, threatened a strike. Mayor Daley, however, still sees the glass as half-empty. He told the Chicago Tribune last week that the service cuts are preferable to fare increases but he doesn't think anything can stop the cuts on Feb. 7.

For more detailed information on the cuts that may await your commute, the CTA website has the details.