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Dueling textbooks

I was heading home on the northbound Red Line out of Grand Avenue. I had missed a train by about a minute, but another truly was following about two minutes behind. Since it was about 4:45, I actually found a seat right away.

I got settled in for some accounting homework for my Roosevelt University MBA class: Textbook and notebook resting atop my black messenger bag; pen poised; puzzled look on my face trying to detemine why my balance sheet wasn't balancing.

I kept sensing the guy next to me looking closely at my book and homework. I made eye contact with him a few minutes later and he said:

"Wanna trade textbooks?"

No way was I gonna take that bait. "No thanks! I'm sure yours is much thicker than mine." After all mine is a puny softcover of just 444 pages.

But he did drag his behemoth out of his bag. 800-plus pages in hardback for his undergrad class accounting and finance class.

He wins the Dueling Textbooks contest. Thank the good lord I don't have to drag that one around.


It is hard to believe the CTA when it lies too much.

Story 1:
Skyrocketing fuel costs blow hole in CTA budget.

Fare revenues rose in June as more riders used CTA buses and trains--at least some of them seeking relief from gasoline prices.

But it was not enough to cover a growing deficit as the price of fuel skyrocketed, the CTA reported.

"We obviously are dealing with the same kind of fuel price increases that everybody else is dealing with and that's a very tough challenge," said CTA President Frank Kruesi after a board meeting Thursday.

It's too early to say whether fuel prices will hit transit commuters where it hurts, either with fare increases or diminished train and bus schedules, said CTA board Chairwoman Carole Brown.

from the Chicago Tribune

Story 2:
CTA Saves A Bunch Of Money On Its Gas Bill

Since Aug. 1, the CTA has paid $1.78 a gallon for most of its diesel fuel, and the transit authority officials say the price won't change until Nov. 1.

from the NBC 5 News

I hope the CTA gets their fuel tax-free. That would save them a lot of money and would certainly makes sense.

Also, the trains don't use fossil fuels*, so I say we get rid of busses and build a better rail system :)

* You have to burn something to get electric power, but it doesn't have to be fossil fuel. Nuclear or solar powered busses don't exist.

Electric buses exist. San Francisco, for example, has a large system of electric trolley routes. Hybrids exist for full-sized buses, too. Propane fueled buses used to be very common.

I think you'll see far more alternatively powered buses in the future, but for now, the diesel bus, despite rising fuel costs, is still the best suited vehicle for most situations. Even in Chicago, there aren't a lot of places left that can be served less expensively by rail. Propane and hybred buses still use fossil fuel. And electric buses are confined to where the wires go, and sometimes have to be temporarily replaced by diesel buses because of it.

(BTW... What do you think the odds are that a new nuclear power plant can get built in the next 50 years?)

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