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CoolHand shares this Tattler Tale:
Two weeks ago, there was a longer than usual wait for the Brown Line @ Madison & Wabash around 6 pm. The platform is filling up and people are starting to do the Angry Head Shake and the Frustrated Mutter all over the place.
Finally a Kimball train approaches and it's packed. I sidle my way to the rear of a compartment, standing next to the single seats facing out the window. Two stops later a guy in a bright yellow rain jacket and a "Don't Be Jack" cap gets on and I can hear him talking on his cell phone before he even sets foot on the train.
I mentally prepare myself to handle 45 minutes of hearing stories about "client proposals" and "prospective financial forecasts" and other fascinating topics that some self-important business people feel the need to broadcast at deafening levels. Soon I start to realize that not only does he have a CTA radio that's picking up lots of chatter from dispatchers, but he's saying things like "Does Madigan know how we stand on the issue?" and "I think we should get on record before they vote tonight."
All right, at this point my interest is piqued. I'm not eavesdropping, but I listen for whatever he wants to yell into his phone. The next call he makes starts with "Hey, this is Frank. I'm on the Brown Line and there's a delay Northbound. Someone should be making an announcement about there being a power outage at Armitage."
The conversation ends shortly after that. No more than 3 minutes later (I swear!) the conductor comes over the PA and tells us with MUCH improved manners that there has been a power outage at Armitage and he apologizes profusely (my words not his) for the delay. For the rest of the trip, the conductor is sunny and friendly, chattering over the PA like he's amongst his closest buddies.
I keep an eye on "Frank" out of the corner of my eye. He's preoccupied but polite (offering females open seats next to him) until he gets off at Wellington.
There's no doubt that if it wasn't Frank Kruesi, it was his twin. I realized too late that I should've asked him why the CTA was even mentioning more Fare Hikes while being audited by the IRS for spending $2,000,000 on FURNITURE for their new building! But of course these things don't come to mind until it's too late.
So if you see a man in a yellow raincoat and yellow "Jack" cap, who looks like your 8th grade Chemistry teacher talking loudly on his cell phone, look a little closer. It could be the man responsible for the blockhead decisions that have affected all of our lives. And if it is Frank, let him know what you think about the job he's doing. Since it doesn't seem like our elected officials will do it for us....
NOTE: At least one commenter suggested when this was originally posted as a comment that she didn't believe Frank had ever been on a train. But I do know that he likes to ride and check things out personally. Besides, he probably gets a free monthly pass!
Photo by Zolk.
Check out the CTA shell game video at:
May 25, 2006 at 08:14 AM
i used to see frank getting off the brown line at the merchandise mart often enough to believe that it was his normal way of getting to work.
May 25, 2006 at 09:22 AM
The report indicates that having Frank on the train had a marked effect on the operator's demeanor. If a clone, maybe his clones should ride more of them.
The audit is by the Illinois Auditor General, not the IRS. We all know that CTA is not a profit making corporation that needs to pay income taxes. Otherwise, they could bring back CSL.
May 25, 2006 at 10:26 AM
That video is hilarious!
shell shill |
May 25, 2006 at 12:34 PM
Since Kreusi is one of Daley's most loyal and trusted political hacks he will never be fired.
May 25, 2006 at 05:45 PM
Frank has said from the very beginning of his job, he was going to take the CTA because he could find out what the problems were & fix them. I think he was on Chicago Tonight on WTTW Channel 11.
One day at one of those open meetings, some reporter asked him if he really 'did' take the CTA everywhere, he said 'Yes'! He has to be reminded by his secretary to leave earlier than usual, but he does use the CTA for even high-level meetings. I was surprised when he said that. He really does take the CTA.
This means, you should 'always' have your list of questions ready to fire away if you ever see him on the trains. According to him, we're on his turf & he aims to make it better!! We'll see!
Apres Ski |
May 25, 2006 at 09:55 PM
While I've never seen Mr. Kruesi on a train, I did see him while riding around downtown during the Sox World Series Parade. He and another employee were standing between the tracks on the Wacker bridge, watching the festivites from high above the crowds. I was jealous.
May 26, 2006 at 07:38 AM
With as many frustrations as we all have with CTA, that's admirable that the president rides as much as he does. A person in that position *should* set the example, but it isn't reality in most cases.
May 26, 2006 at 10:19 AM
Riding the El and buses shouldn't just be a perk for the CTA president, other high-level execs, and the CTA Board--it should be a *required* condition of their employment/appointment.
The Sun-Times did an enlightening couple of stories a few years back on how often CTA execs and board members used their free passes. It wasn't pretty. To Kruesi's credit--three words you will probably never see my write again, so take a picture--he was actually a frequent rider. Incidentially, it took a FOIA to pry this information loose from the CTA....perhaps it's time for another request? Inquiring minds want to know.
Chicago Jason |
May 30, 2006 at 01:18 PM
Frank has be on the job for how long? And he still hasn't figured out the problem with the CTA?
I'm gonna make my list of questions and carry it everywhere I go.
June 02, 2006 at 10:47 AM
I currently work at 567 w lake (cta hq). Frank does indeed ride trains everyday, and not the same one either he drives out of his way to take different trains. Also, all employee ID's can be used for free access to the L, CTA, and Pace bus' through the chicago card 'go' lane.
June 21, 2006 at 04:21 PM
All a CTA employee has to do is flash their ID badge and they get on for free? Don't raise my fare anymore and start making them pay.....that's how much being lost in fare?
Do part-time employees get the same discount? Do you need a file clerk? (wink, wink)
June 22, 2006 at 12:44 PM
It's not unusual for CTA employees/executives to take multiple CTA business-related trips each day on the trains/buses, so I think it's fair we get a free pass. Say what you will about non-business use of passes, but maybe that's one small perk to help offset the less than stellar wages CTA employees earn.
June 27, 2006 at 06:17 PM
Free transportation on the system is a customary job benefit offered by most transit systems to their employees, just as I get to buy my mutual funds at NAV instead of POP because I am a registered associate of a firm that is a NASD member, and dept. store employees get employee discounts that range from meaningless to subtantial.
What transit employees don't and never will get is bonuses based on profitability, because the system operates on a not-for-profit basis.
The airlines are at least as heavily subsidized as our public transit, yet they are allowed to have profits, even if the profits get scarcer every day on this most wasteful industry. Airline employees typically get some free air travel.
CTA wages are subpar and the working conditions are uncomfortable and dangerous in the extreme. A free pass is a small perk. The worst part is that many CTA employees can't get the good of their passes because they live in less expensive, low-density neighborhoods that are underserved by transit.
Laura Louzader |
January 18, 2007 at 02:26 PM
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