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Polite and prayerful CTA passengers

I've been reporting on CTA rider behavior now for nearly five years, and observing it for more than 20 years. And of course, certain patterns repeat themselves at certain times of the year.

There's the guy in early April who goes coatless in short sleeves on a 50 degree day.

And at the beginning of every school year we deal with the influx of students after a placid summer.

And then there's the pious pray-ers, who seem to come out in full force during Lent for Catholics.

In the last week I saw two women in the 50s -- and they are always women over 50 -- fervently clutching and working their rosary beads in advance of the Lenten season that starts tomorrow today (thanks Paul).

One of the women actually took a break to make a call. She politely placed her hand over the mouthpiece so as not to be heard by fellow passengers. Or maybe she just didn't want us to hear? Either way I appreciate it.

And throw in a prayer for the RTA and CTA to solve its funding deficit problems, among others..


Actually, I think the Lenten season begins today (Ash Wednesday, Feb 25), not tomorrow.

Why is this minor correction even worth pointing out on this CTA-related board? Because this year's CTA calendar says that Ash Wednesday was two weeks ago. Does it really matter? Probably not. Most Catholics (and those of other faiths) probably don't rely on the CTA calendar to tell them when their religious holidays are occurring.

Still, does no one in their vaunted new Customer Communications department proof these things?

I pray that the clue fairy will make a visit to Carole Brown and that he/she/it will clear up some of her confusion about block 37 and the fact that the revenues from property transfers, etc. are not going to be at the predicted levels in this time of foreclosures, layoffs, economic downturn, rising prices, etc.

I really would like to visit the alternate universe that she lives in. It sounds like a nice place that I'd like to live in...one where you aren't held accountable for your "confusion" and general ineffectiveness.

Maybe she should follow some of the other corporate leaders and until she actually does the job of the CTA board preseident, she should not take her 50K a year salary until she improves things drastically.


last year she was complaining about rising gas prices... hasnt she ever heard of futures and options?? shes supposed to have a background in finance, she should know how to hedge against these things.

A lot of transit systems did very well when they found themselves in the middle of a futures contract for fuel when prices went skyhigh. And those who's contracts expired when fuel hit the low point in the fall did even better.

Losers included the CTA, which had to pay the high price when fuel went up, but even when fuel came down, it didn't make-up for it.

But the big loser was Portland, OR. Their fuel futures expired just before the height of the prices, and fearing even greater prices in the future, they locked-in at something like 3.68/gallon, which they're still paying now. (The contract allows them to only buy about 20% of what they use on the spot market.)

Now would probably be a darn good time to lock in a new futures contract before prices start rising again. But you know the board can't/won't act fast enough, and by the time they'd okay it, prices will be up again.

Now would be a great time to lock in to diesel contracts. I can't imagine futures on these is much greater than it currently is, plus the downside risk is slim to nil. Does CTA hedge at all?

I've spoke about this in the past, but I'm surprised CTA does not make more of an effort to use solar (or even wind) energy. They recently installed solar panels on some of their administrative building with some free grants, but given the surface area they have across Chicago, I have to imagine they could do much more than they currently are.

Is the "Happy Bus" driver still around? Heck, does CTA even run #36 Sedgwick any more?

I think you mean #37, K. The answer to that is either yes or no depending on how one interprets your question.

It still exists in a slightly altered form, k. The Sedgwick route was merged with the #11 for weekday runs around the time three-tracking started. Don't know about the Happy Bus driver. I have met pleasant drivers and buses full of happy people, but the rarely at the same time.

Wasn't the Sedgwick the #38?

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