My interview with CTA President Ron Huberman continues.
Q: What other public transit systems are you familiar with and what do they do well that you'd like to see done here? -- Question posted by Bob S.
“Both Tokyo and Curitiba, Brazil, have phenomenal transit systems. So does Hong Kong. At the same time we have to realize that our system is 100 years old in places, so we have to look at the good ideas that older systems are using and incorporate those as well. And improvements will come in phases. It will be a slow transition to modernize the CTA system.
“Also, in the coming months, we’ll be putting out information about the slow zones – laying out time frames on how long it will take to fix them. It’s a very costly project and will take some time to repair. But we feel people will be patient if they know the end point of a project.
(NOTE: The week after this interview, the CTA announced a plan to speed up improvements in slow zones.)
“Our plan is to take us back to the days of 70 miles-per-hour trains. We haven’t been there for years. The best we can do now is 55 mph on parts of the Green Line south. By 2010 we’ll start replacing train cars. They will all be outfitted with security cameras. But at this point we only have the funding to replace about one-third of all the rail cars. So we’re still working on that.”
Finally, on the CTA funding issue, Huberman said he doesn’t have a crystal and couldn’t predict how the funding crisis would be resolved. But he does hope it’s over before the end of July. And he says he and his staff are involved every day in lobbying Springfield on the funding issue.
“We don’t sit back and just wait for things to happen,” Huberman said. “Every day we’re on the phone or talking in person to the legislators in Springfield.”