A year in review: Huberman's first year at the helm
CTA President Ron Huberman has now been on the job for a year. Here is a partial list of his accomplishments. Tuesday I will publish some problems he ran into and some things that still need work.
- Within weeks of his appointment, he introduced a series of belt-tightening measures to control administrative costs.
- Established a Performance Management Initiative at the CTA that has set standards for every CTA employee and holds managers strictly accountable for the performance of their departments.
- Added Brown Line trains back into service following successful performance of three-track operation.
- Locked in low pricing for 400 additional New Flyer Buses. The timing helped reduce the capital expense of purchasing new buses.
- In June, through an expedited arbitration process, the CTA and its unions agreed on historic pension and health care reforms. Such reforms had been demanded by the General Assembly and were critical to securing legislative support for CTA funding.
- Announced plans to install and test Drive Cam - a technology designed to monitor, evaluate and identify driving behavior of CTA bus operators as a means to prevent accidents, increase safety and reduce the cost of repairs and accident claims.
- Belt-Tightening measures began to show results. Financial results for May showed a budget surplus of $1.9 million as a result of administrative efficiencies and performance management systems implemented. Overtime costs were reduced by 25%. The total labor expense for the month of May was $4.1 million below budget.
- Major Slow Zone elimination plan announced for Red and Blue Lines.
- Launch of Rail Cleaning pilot.
- Subway improvements. Reported on subway track repairs, lighting and signage improvements, reorganization of track inspection and maintenance departments and technological enhancements.
- Conducted weekend emergency drills with Chicago Fire Department in CTA subway.
- Work to eliminate slow zones in the Blue Line subway is completed ahead of schedule.
- Launched pilot Bus Clean initiative at 74th Garage.
- Launch a pilot to test methods to eliminate bus bunching.
- Most of October was devoted to planning CTA’s 2008 budget and contingency plans if funding was not approved. Developed a Back to Basics budget to focus limited resources on service.
- Leveraged more than $2 million in pro bono consulting services to assist with CTA transformation.
- Management efficiencies resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of buses put into service each day. By developing a system to catch up on preventive maintenance, the CTA was able to reduce by 89 percent the average number of daily runs cancelled due to defective equipment. By training managers on absenteeism and demanding more accountability, the number of daily runs cancelled due to manpower shortages decreased by 34 percent in the same time period.
- Construction complete at the Sedgwick station on the Brown Line.
- Montrose Station reopens ahead of schedule.
- Slow Zone progress. More than 60,000 feet of slow zones eliminated by year end.
- Newly renovated Addison Brown Line station reopens.
- Red Line trains resume normal speeds as work to eliminate 8,400 feet of slow zones from Grand to Clark/Division is completed.
- Plans announced for future purchase of 150 hybrid buses. CTA estimates that the hybrid technology will save the agency more than $900,000 annually in fuel costs and nearly $7 million annually in maintenance, parts and labor costs over buses currently in service.
- Slow zone work from Jefferson Park to Harlem completed; 22,500 feet of slow zones were removed.
- Reported on signage improvement plans.
- Transit Funding Legislation Illinois General Assembly approved transit funding legislation, putting the CTA’s operating budget on stable financial footing for the first time in decades.
- Increased ridership in 2007: Combined bus and rail ridership increased by 4.7 million rides, a gain of one percent over 2006 ridership, for a total of 499.5 million rides. It is the highest ridership level since 1992.
- Slow Zones Update. CTA removed nearly 20 percent of slow zones since announcing the slow zone elimination plan in June 2007.
- CTA makes technology enhancements to 5000-Series rail cars. Adds wireless connectivity and cellular modems to railcars that will allow the CTA’s Control Center to communicate directly with customers in real-time via audio and text messages using speakers and six visual displays in each car.
- Three Track update. Northbound Red Line trains resume operating on the inner northbound track at Fullerton.
- Announces plans for eight car service to begin on Brown Line nearly 18 months earlier than originally planned.
- Adds weekend service on Yellow Line and enhances bus service on #43 and #65.
- CTA announces a $200 million capital program with federal funding to improve the safety and reliability of the system.
- Introduced new Express Farecard vending machines for credit cards.
- Expands Mystery Shopper program.
- Issued $250 million in Capital Grant Receipt Revenue Bonds to accelerate funding of capital improvement projects, including the purchase of buses and rail cars, and slow zone elimination.
- Takes action to stem rising fuel costs. CTA accelerates the purchase of hybrid buses and redesigns other buses to reduce their weight and improve their fuel economy. Combined, the CTA expects that these steps will save $91.5 million over the 12-year average life of the buses compared to the costs to operate the current fleet of buses.
- Expands Bus Tracker – 13 Additional Routes Provide Customers with Bus Arrival Times, All Bus Routes to Be Live within 12 Months.
- Reopened Southport Brown Line station.
- Implemented Free Rides for Seniors program.
- Partners with Google to provide mapping and directions for CTA bus and rail services in 11 languages on the Google Transit web site. Increases CTA’s reach to a broader audience and introduces them to the convenience of public transit at no cost to the agency.
- Solicits electricity supply proposals from authorized suppliers in an effort to lower the annual cost of supplying electricity to CTA trains and facilities.
- Chicago Transit Authority and Chicago Public Schools collaborate to test smart cards for high school students who take public transportation.
- More slow zone work planned along the north end of the Red Line and sections of the Brown Line.
- A new digital advertising and communications initiative that will provide next train arrival information and notify customers of service changes. Will provide the CTA with more than $100 million in revenue.
- Adds Blue Line service on O’Hare and Forest Park branches.