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Again, a little more communication, please, on route changes

I went to the White Sox game Sunday. (Please, no comments from fans of the Central Division champion Cubs. I wasn't born in Chicago, but I'm a baseball fan and go to games at both parks.)

As a regular rider and well-informed customer, I've seen fliers and signs noting that because of slow-zone work on the Red Line, trains were running "over the top" on the elevated tracks from Fullerton to Cermak.

But some of the more casual weekend riders and occasional Sox fans heading to the park didn't know that on the train car I was riding to the U.S. Cellular. And the motorman didn't tell them. So naturally those riders were confused.

By the time we hit the Loop, those folks were gazing at maps and wandering around the car wondering why we were not in the tunnel and whether we were still a Red Line train.

And the motorman was no help.

So I had to explain things to those riders.

Hey CTA, there's a lot more subway tunnel work coming up on the Red Line. Can you please remind your motormen to make detailed announcement about that -- just like the guy on the ride home from the ball park? Thank you.

Comments

Last night there were actually overhead announcements that played as trains approached. Better than usual.

Another reason that they should never have gotten rid of conductors.

You're lucky! I was on a Red Line train headed to that same game, and the train suffered some sort of problem such that, as we were crossing over 18th street, the curtain rollers kicked on along with the express lights, and the motorman announced that the train was "seriously defective" and would be stopping at Cermak/Chinatown before running express to 69th St. We had a follower right behind us (literally: he was about one train length back, and stopped at the signal right before coming into the Cermak/Chinatown station, as we disembarked), but despite this being a completely painless process (go CTA!), before we pulled in, the guy in the seat across from me completely wigged out. He was obviously concerned about being late(r) to the game (it was already gametime), and expressed his concern, along with his disbelief that anyone would ever have reason to go to 69th St., loudly and with many expletives. Presumably he did eventually make it to the ballpark, where his mood almost certainly didn't improve. At least he wasn't in my section!

It's funny that you mention this. On both Thursday and Friday afternoons--at least during rush hour--the station attendant at Fullerton stood outside his booth and made constant announcements about the route change, as well as handed out brochures about it/three-tracking.

Neal, as I note in the post, I have no problem with the work the CTA is doing ahead of time to inform riders via flyers and ads about these changes.

Where I personally saw the problem Sunday was ON THE TRAIN as it went around the Loop instead of in the tunnel. There was no announcement by the motorman as we left Fullerton that the tunnel was closed, that there would be shuttle buses at the El stations and all the other details. Nothing. Motorman MUST announce this stuff and the CTA should make sure that they do.

I rode the Red and Brown lines five times on Saturday (yes, five times), and each time the train motormen made frequent announcements about the over-the-top switch (on the red) and explained the red line train in front of us is why we were delayed (on the brown). I was very impressed (for once), but it just takes ONE motorman refusing to make helpful announcements to cause substantial confusion among passengers, especially those who are not regular riders (weekend riders, sporting fan riders, tourists, etc.).

This morning on a normal Red Line run, the train operator actually made two announcements to explain the reasons why we were stopped or going slow. One was that the train just ahead of us was sitting in the next station. The other was that we were going to take a curve slowly and there were workers in the tunnel. What's more, both announcements were professional-sounding and clearly audible. It makes such a difference when the passengers are treated like they have a right to know what's going on. Kudos to this operator.

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