So, who's to "blame" for the Blue Line evacuation?
As many of you know, a mechanical failure on the Blue Line Tuesday morning eventually led to an evacuation of several trains stuck in the subway tunnel.
But who is to blame for that evacuation?
CTA President Ron Huberman originally said, "If not for the [riders' self] evacuation, we could have restored that service in around 25 minutes." Huberman said. He said the initial mechanical problem was reported at 8:10 a.m. and by about 9 a.m. the problem was mostly corrected."
He later backed off that statement and said, "In no way is the CTA pointing fingers at anyone but ourselves."
That's good, because we have CTA Tattler readers commenting here that they got little to no information about what was happening, so they "took matters into their own hands." Erin reported that there were some announcements, "but then they stopped."
Still, there were other comments from folks who said the CTA kept them informed and who blamed the antsy folks self-evacuated: "All CTA service would have been fine at 9am but some idiots needed to get to work. Those few people that started the mass evacuation should be ashamed."
I wasn't there, so I don't know what to think. I do think that in general, passengers should stay on the train till they get word from the CTA to do something. I also know that the CTA must do a better job in general of communicating with passengers during crisis situations.
I've complained about this since the Tattler started in 2004. Things are a little better, but certainly not where they should be. And the NTSB said the same thing after the 2006 Blue Line derailment.
It appears that the CTA, at best, does an uneven job in communicating with passengers in these situations. Some motormen are better than others. We need to get to the point where all operators get good information from central command and share it with passengers.
Top photo by Erin. Bottom photo by a Tattler fan. And many thanks to all you folks who emailed me and sent CTA Alerts about what was happening Tuesday.