Huberman: Changing corporate culture; building a "world class" system
Today, I continue with excerpts from my interview with CTA President Ron Huberman.
Q: What measures are you going to implement in order to change the corporate culture of the CTA, and foster an environment where employees must realize that customer service is priority #1?
"We need to inspire our work force to deliver the best product possible," said Huberman. "There must be clear guidelines and expectations. And the people who get the promotions are the people who deliver results."
Q: What steps does the CTA need to take in order to be considered a "world class" transit system, since it has been criticized by many as second class or worse? -- Question posted by Frank
"I don't disagree that we are not a 'world class' transit system," said Huberman. "But still I do think we do a very good job with a 100-year-old system."
He said the CTA has to figure out how to modernize the system in a way that makes sense. "Take a look at everything. Do we have the right rail cars? What does it cost per mile of track to upgrade? We have to balance all of this and find real value for our customer."
OK, that's sounds great, but how do you square that thinking with the fact that you're suggesting transferring $56.9 million in capital improvement funds to operations?
"Frankly, we're out of options," said Huberman. "I'm legally obligated to present a balanced budget and that's what we did. We took all capital projects that were not under contract already and converted those dollars to operating funds. This thing (the "contingency plan" submitted to the RTA) worries me terribly. But we're hopeful (that the Legislature will provide more funding). At the end of the day, people can't get from Point A to Point B."