Transit trolling: RTA chief on fare hikes; parking contract going out for bid; beware Red Line bandit
As usual these days, there is plenty to report in CTA news and only so many posts to contain them. Regular readers know I generally post once a day and take weekends off. In an effort to catch up some more, here are more news of notes gleaned from other media and the CTA's Web site.
RTA chief shies away from fare hike, service cuts. RTA Executive Director Stephen Schlickman told the Chi-Town Daily News last week that the RTA would do all it could to avoid fare hikes and service cuts in filling the $155 million budget deficit the CTA faces. "The objective is to get through this year without any serious fare increases or service cuts. A significant increase in fares with a serious cut in service would result in a serious fall in ridership," Schlickman said in an interview with Chi-Town. "We're looking really hard at everything: short-term borrowing, shifts from operating revenue to capital, stimulus money."
Schlickman also provided historical perspective on how "there was a massive drop-off in ridership that we didn't recover from for many, many years" after service cuts in the early 1980s. We hope history doesn't repeat itself.
CTA prepares to put parking contract out for bid. Just a few months after a hefty increase in its rates at Park & Ride lots, the CTA is readying a Request for Proposals soliciting companies to operate, manage and maintain the CTA's parking facilities. I learned this by looking at the details behind the many ordinances passed at the March 11 board meeting.
Ordinance No. 009-31 calls for extending the current contract of Standard Parking Corp. "on a month-to-month basis for up to nine months to keep this source of revenue flowing while a new RFP soliciting companies for a replacement parking facilities agreement is put in place." Of course, this doesn't mean Standard is out of luck. They could still bid and win. But the CTA is certainly doing the right thing -- as they are legally mandated to do -- in finding the best price -- especially in these tight financial times.
Be on the lookout for the Red Line robber. No, no. He's not some guy doing stick-ups on the Howard-Dan Ryan. The FBI suspects him in the robberies of at least six Chicago banks located near stops on the Red Line. The latest alleged heist occurred last Friday at the Chase Bank branch at 850 S. Wabash St.
The FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect, considered armed and dangerous. An FBI press release describes him as a black male, age 30 to 35, between 6-foot and 6-foot-2-inches tall, weighing 200 pounds, with a medium build and beard. He has worn sunglasses, a dark colored baseball cap and a black bomber jacket during all of his robberies
From the WBBM radio story:
"He is also suspected of five other robberies including the:
- Chase Bank branch at 340 N. State St. on Dec. 5 and March 10.
- North Community Bank branch at 5342 N. Broadway.
- Bank of America branch at 7900 S. Halsted on Jan. 23.
- MB Financial Bank branch at 6443 N. Sheridan Rd., also on March 10."