Problems, failures by Huberman in his first year
Just as in the Led Zeppelin song, for Ron Huberman in his first year at the helm: "Communication breakdown, it's always the same."
And it's quite ironic, because Huberman has put a lot of work into improving passenger communications, but chronic CTA problems on that front have caused him the biggest headaches during his first year.
The biggest head ouchie occurred last month when a stuck train in the Blue Line subway and bad passenger communications led to the evacuation of 1,000 people. The next week, Huberman got a public scolding by Da Mayor in front of his peers.
Huberman needs to get back in the good graces of Daley. The Sun-Times' Michael Sneed, legendary for her many sources deep inside City's Hall Fifth Floor, opined last week (among other things) that "Huberman was one of Mayor Daley's favorites -- until 1,000 CTA passengers were trapped last month for nearly an hour in the Blue Line subway before CTA officials called emergency rescue workers."
First, operating funds, now capital cash: For months, the state Legislature was polarized over the issue of how to provide more operating cash for the CTA. That forced Huberman to slash his budget and threaten fare hikes and massive service cuts. While not his fault, this scenario certainly had to be about the last thing Ron wanted to see in his first months.
Fortunately, the state came through with the cash. Unfortunately, they demanded that the CTA to give free rides to seniors, forcing Huberman to once again threaten fare hikes. And still Huberman is spending more time than he really wants to in Springfield with his hat in hand, begging for capital funding to buy more new buses and rail cars.
Other stuff, certainly not all Huberman's fault, but they happened on his watch:
Huberman's plan to improve communications with CTA riders, safety -- still looking for payback on this promise.