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Ron to the rescue! Huberman hustles rude rube off train

In case you missed comments on this post, it seems our CTA president gets tough on rude riders.

Sara reports that her co-worker spotted Ron Huberman on the Red Line the other day at 7:30 am.

"Apparently, a misbehaving guy was making inappropriate comments to a woman about how she needed to wear more clothes, was going to get raped, etc. . . . No one did anything and then out of nowhere Huberman stands up and gives the guy a glare and says, "You're going to get off the train."

The guy talked back and Huberman kept repeating. The guy ended up getting out at Addison and Huberman followed him out.

Way to go, Ron!

Weekend slow zones: Lots of it this weekend. News about the northbound Red Line subway here. And reports on work at Fullerton here.

Have a safe and Happy St. Patrick's Day weekend, from your Irish Tattler, Kevin O'Neil.


I'm trying to imagine Kruesi doing something like this, but I can't imagine Frank even being on the train to begin with.

Way to go, Ron--thank you!

Now if he could just rescue my daily southbound morning red line rush hours train....now that would be a real accomplishment.


Absolutely! All I ever hear about is how Chicago has a great transit system and more people should use it, blah blah blah.
I dont think it can handle more people! You have to wait for 3 trains to go by before you can even board one. You barely fit in there, and yet they want more to come? It's a horrible paradox.

So why no where here about the elimination of a branch of the Blue Line? Just curious...

Nice pointless crack. Kruesi actually made more than 1,000 CTA trips a year (he published the ridership of all top executives), but whatever. Yeah, he wasn't a badass ex-cop like Huberman.

I mean "why no WORD here..."

Its all about being a huberman fanboy(s).

Nothing bad is going be said about him. What he has done so far is mostly lipservice and promises. When the rubber hits the road, I haven't seen alot of positive direction. My redline commute in the morning(from Addison to Lake) is no better than it has been for almost 5 years. In fact, its gotten worse in the last year under his "new" leadership. But gee, he's trying is what I hear. If he wants to get my support then he needs to start trimming the fat rather than screaming for more money. He can start at the CTA administrative offices....I'll bet you could get rid of about 20% of the staff there and not affect any bus or rail activities. Of course that won't happen cause the CTA is a dumping ground for Daleys cronies and we know who owes their job to Daley (is his name Ron perhaps?). They could start with the guy who couldn't spell Belmont and the IT folks who can't even duplicate the CTA alerts in almost 4 years of trying....they want to bid it out rather than actually do the work (seems to be pretty common way they do business) and then they never seem to have the money to implement it.

Starting March 30th, its going to be horrible. Between 8:10 and 9am every morning 3 or 4 trains go by addison southbound completely full and the 4 minutes that is supposed to be the interval is 15 or 20. I don't see Ron with a clipboard at Addison in the morning checking to see if his trains are on time. Newsflash! They aren't!

I've complained via email, via phone, I'd send up smoke signals and once in a while I get a call back from the red line guy who essentially says "he'll take my comments into account".....and thats it. No fixes, no changes, no concern, no doubt that they could care less...

For almost 2 years, the Washington street station has been closed for Block 37 construction...talk about a joke and a waste of money....The entrance/exit is about 10 feet from my building. Much more convenient for me. Convenience for the customers hardly ever figures into the CTAs plans.

Then there is the escalators. You'd think with a big staff of repairmen that they could keep these running...or replace them...or you could get ADA compliant stations everywhere.

But the CTA would rather have nice pretty stations than ones that are actually functional....Brown line Sedgwick station is a good example....instead of adding exit only devices, everyone has to share 5 turnstiles on the east side..but we have room to put up big metal grates where the perfect place to put those exit only stations would be...I have a favorite clip that I like to use, but perfectly describes the CTA....we are moving ahead at the speed of light and half the speed of sense(common sense that is)

So, like I've whine before, fix the problems, Ron. It doesn't take years to hold your people accountable and to start trimming the fat. You know where it is and you don't have to go far from your luxurious office and building to find and fix it.


oh yeah kevin. ron's just going to snap his fingers and every problem from 20 years of neglect is going to be fixed. immediately. and its not going to cause the GREAT KEVINB, the SAINTED KEVINB any more problems. Because the world revolves around what KEVINB needs.

Sorry great one, but the problems with the CTA are going to take time to fix.

If anyone can fix the CTA, Huberman is the guy. But he needs more than than a can of paint and masking tape.

If anyone can fix the CTA, Huberman is the guy. But he needs more than than a can of paint and masking tape.

90% of the time lately, the Red Line trains I ride are noticibly cleaner than 1 year ago. It was getting downright digusting for a while there last year, but now its rare that I board a trashed Red line train after work. A few days this week the seat inserts were ALL spotless! Kudos to Ron for getting the steam cleaning machines for the seats, it is helping. Also remember under Kruesi, he told us it would take "a couple hundred million" and several years to fix the O'hare Blue line slow zones and that slow zones will be around forever. Hmm, 1 year later and 1/2 of them are already gone and a commmitment to reduce them systemwide to 6-7% by year end. Also making it the ultimate goal to completely rid the system of them entirely is the right attitude, not throwing hands up in defeat at a major issue.

If Ron can pull off his promise to make bus bunching a lot less common this summer, he will have accomplished solving a major issue that his predecessor never even publicly admitted as being a problem.

Also, trains are moving a bit faster between about Addison and Lake on Red in the last year. Once all the slow zone work is completedly in the subway, near Wellington, and the dredfully slow ones near Sheridan and up to Wilson are gone, its going to be a lot better.

KevinB is cool with me! His complaints are similar to mine so I enjoy reading them.


I'm not great or sainted. For the most part I'm realistic.

Like I said, I don't expect everything fixed overnight, but at the same time, the accountability issue has not changed. With all the rhetoric about "daily accountability meetings with all the staff heads" and the infusion of the money for operations it has not gotten better. If these people were actually responsible, then one of two things would have happened by now...either things would have gotten better(and not just cleaner seats) or Ron would have realized just how bad his management staff is and that's something he CAN do something about, which is tell them that they are going to do their job or they are going to look for another one. quite simple in fact.

I like clean seats and rail cars...but you know, does it really matter if there is not trash in the car if they don't run as frequently as they are supposed to? I could deal with some trash if the trains ran every 3 1/2 minutes during rush hour.

I was told today by a red line manager (I finally did get a call back) that trains leave howard southbound on the red line every 3 1/2 minutes. By the time they get to addison its sometimes every 10, 15 or 20 minutes in the am. There's some sort of problem there, hopefully one that it doesn't take a rocket scientist to fix. Part of it is operator delays (talking and socializing with other employees on the platform or just not paying attention to doors and holding up following trains waiting for people to get to the doors). I wouldn't have a problem missing a train if I KNEW that one would be along in 3 1/2 minutes....like if we had something telling us when the next train might be showing up

Since you seem to making excuses for Ron and his employees, what exact excuse would you have for the CTA with all its resources not to be able to set up a alerts system like the CTA Tattler did? I mean, again, not rocket science and if its important enough to your riders, you darn well get it done...

ALso, there is NO EXCUSE for what happened Monday (as documented in one of the other threads and not just by me) where a SB Redline train, during rush hour stopped between Addison and Belmont to let a guy off at the tower there)....now unless there was a major emergency, the guy could have got off at belmont and walked the 50 feet from the stop to the tower, or he could have taken a 22 clark bus or any other number of ways that would have not delayed and inconvenienced the people trying to get to work on time.

I don't want to have to leave an hour early for what should be a 20 minute ride. This guy was just downright lazy. Its a good thing that he doesn't work for me, cause if he pulled something like this on my watch, he'd be looking for another job, plain and simple.

There are lots of people looking for work out there.

If Ron wants to solve the problems, then how about a customer council that advises the CTA board and is actually listened to...find out what really is import to riders.

I've got a possible solution. It concerns full trains. If a train is full and there is a 5, 10, 15 minute or more delay between trains (like it frequently does at Addison), have those trains go express. The rail operator knows that his train is full, he can make the announcement and maybe it could go express to Lake street where a majority of riders get off. The control center should know where all their trains are and if it make sense....show a little of that good old american know how and make a decision.

For Ron, its just about put up or shut up time. Maybe Daley has another liaison job waiting like the one he gave Frank for doing such a bang up job....



I guess the lady appreciated it. I saw this on Craigslist missed connections.

good samaritan on the red line - w4m - 22

Reply to: pers-604905156@craigslist.org
Date: 2008-03-13, 10:28AM CDT

This isn't really a missed connection so much as a thank you. On the red line this morning, a very drunk man became rather agitated and starting harrassing some poor woman about her outfit, and making very inappropriate comments. Anyway, everyone was just awkwardly ignoring him, but as we got to the next stop, you very calmly and cooly approached the man, and informed him that he would be getting off with you at the next stop, and stood so as to block his view of the woman. I just wanted you to say that that was a really decent thing to do, and I really appreciated it. It's good to know that chivalry isn't dead after all :) I hope you have a great day

Kevin B:

Take a chill pill. Calm down and relax. I love the fact that you think it is so easy to figure out how to make every train on the red line run on-time during rush hour, when hundreds of thousands of people use it in just a short amount of time. It really is pretty funny to see you act as if every little thing under the sun is the result of gross incompetance and mismanagement. It is truly hilarious that it apparently takes a call from a CTA employee for you to figure out that delays occur usually because of the large amount of passengers riding the train. And the only solution you even attempted to suggest (it is a lot easier to complain than to think of solutions, isn't it?) is to have trains run express from Addison to Lake. I'm sure it is just a coincidence that it seems that those happen to be the two stations you travel between. Of course, if you used one of the stations that the train were to travel express through you would probably be on here screaming about how utterly incompetent it would be to have delayed trains not pick up passengers who had been waiting for a while. And if you were in a train behind it that had to wait while the huge numbers of people who travel to places north of Lake got off(news flash: tons of people travel to the stations between Belmont and Grand in the morning), you would be screaming as well.

And I must say that you are the first person who I have ever seen complain about the Washington station being closed making them have to travel 50 feet from the station to their work instead of 10. And then, in the very next post you complain (rightly) about a CTA worker being too lazy to walk 50 feet. You can't script this stuff.

By the way, what makes you think Huberman hasn't gotten rid of many manangers? I saw a post on another blog (or perhaps it was this one) from an employee complaining that people were leaving because they were not sure if Huberman would keep them.

Ok, I think I can now list the constant problems with the Southbound Red line interval in the morning as my #1 CTA complaint. This week was not good at all, 3 mornings there was a gap in service of 8-10 minutes and then one morning THREE trains went through in less than 5 minutes creating a logjam of slow trains all the way downtown. Yea, 8-10 minutes doesn't seem like a huge deal, but a line as busy as Red it becomes a major hassle for riders South of Wilson. It also makes the overall travel times longer and longer as people try to squeeze on and off overcrowded trains.

I'm sorry, but I'm skeptical that trains leave Howard every 3 1/2 minutes. I board at Berwyn, so if there is a problem, its somewhere between Howard and Berwyn. I started to think of the all the issues that could regularly lead to a gap in service around the same time on most mornings. Perhaps a disabled person in a wheelchair that needs a great deal of assistance to get on a train around the same time every morning? Maybe it would cause a 3 minute delay max, but who knows. There are only two stations in that area with elevators, Granville and Loyola. Its all a mystery. I have tried leaving later/earlier than my usual time and the train intervals seem to be closer to what they should be.

Anyone reading here board the Red line at Howard weekdays between around 7:50-8:15? Or perhaps even Jarvis, Morse, Loyola? Experiencing the same delays in service or maybe even can shed some light on it? I was thinking that somehow the reconstruction at Howard might have something to do with trains getting delayed leaving as well.

Just curious - what does apples have to do with oranges? If the purpose of the thread is to talk about the unruly passenger incident what does it have to do with the way the train system is run? People's thought process is truly strange...

This makes sense. Although I am an reader of this blog for my cta news after the transit rally a few months ago after meeting Kevin and basically getting pushed off because I'm of a younger generation (yet active supporter of transit) and reading his comments over the passed few months I get a better picture of who he is. Lighten up sir.

I don't ride during rush hour as my job has skewed hours. Over the passed few months I have noticed significant (and impressive) improvement along the north side of the red. The ride between Loyola and Wilson has never been this fast and efficient. Stations are cleaner, roofs are fixed, trains are cleaner. As well I've noticed more consistent operation (diving) of the trains them self's. Doors are generally held open for the same amount of time among different operators (this used to be an issue i noticed). They are hitting the max speed (that the tracks currently allow) between the stations, stopping the train smoother and at the right point. My ride down to Jackson a few nights ago was the quickest its ever been in the 2 years I've been taking this route to work. Nearly 18 minutes quicker.

I have also noticed the CTA employees i report issues to (example: audio system in car 2675 not working) are more appreciative and act on it right away. Also late in the evening there have been less vagrants hanging around subway stations. Particularly at Jackson. I also clearly see more CTA employees cleaning up trash quicker around stations and don't seem completely miserable about doing it as well keeping an eye on the station.

What makes me the most happy? Seeing less Securitas employees and more CTA in house employees.

Just Curious has an excellent point. What does Red Line efficiency have to do with one person's action in protecting another rider? Regardless of what anyone thinks about Ron Huberman and his various jobs in city government, removing an obnoxious rider probably made everyone's morning more pleasant. We can all be cynical and second guess his motivation, which seems to be the undercurrent to Kevin B's posts. The fact is a woman on the train whose morning commute was going badly suddenly had someone remove her aggressor, irrespective of when her train arrived at her stop and how long it took to get to her destination. Is Huberman doing it because it's the right thing to do or because he has the skills as a police officer and obviously has a vested interest in everyone's perception of the CTA? Only he knows, but I dare say it's more of the former than the latter. The really exciting part of all of this is that the Tattler got a mention in the Sun-Times. I guess that's still a good thing? :) http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/845376,CST-NWS-huberman16.article

How come nobody mentions how the 54/Cermak branch is getting the ex, yet, I have to pay more in sales taxes due to the RTA deal, and I have to pay more regarding the Real Estate Transfer tax? It just seems unfair. I dont like riding the Pink line, its a joke! The reason why the ridership has gone down is because the Pink line comes more frequently than the Blue line.


Nobody mentions the "54th/Cermack branch getting the ax" (which is how you put it) because the branch is not getting the ax. If you mean to ask why nobody mentions the 54th/Cermack blue line trains getting the ax, it is because nobody cares. Those trains only continued to exist after the pink line was introduced because some people had a fit that their commute might be very slightly less convenient. The change in the routing for this branch from the blue line to the pink line meant that around 5% of the riders through this area had a longer commute of no more than four minutes while at least six times as many people had their commutes improve. Yet you had people protesting the move and acting as if it created a serious hardship. I think those were mostly people who fail to accept that comprimises are sometimes neccessary in life. And clearly after a few weeks many of these people realized that there was very little, of any, inconvenience in their lives caused by the change in the routing.


Are you also complaining about the 1% sales tax hike that's essentially going into the Stroger Family pockets while you're complaining about the 0.25% raise that is going to a transit system that agreed to make some sweeping reforms? I hope you are.


In regards to the actual post, I wish Ron was on the train I was on the other night, where a man was cussing up a blue storm about the "white people having sex" (his actual complaint was about the train announcements??) in front of two kids. The motorman kept on the guy, though, until he finally got off a few stops later.

Gee MK,

Sounds like I'm not the only one who complains about the red line service at Addison. See other comments here. I mentioned Addison as a possible stop for an express train, but you know, as long as I don't have to get turned away from boarding when the train is full, I wouldn't mind an express train going by Addison if that was the case....I just mention it cause of the density of population in the addision/wrigleyville area and the full train syndromes and the fact that most o f the people on a full train get off at Lake.

I'm glad you think its funny that several hundred people are inconvenienced by a CTA employee being lazy, and my complaint about the washington street station....its not just the fact that is the most convenient station for me, but that it is also the most convenient transfer point to other lines downtown...rather than having to travel to Jackson...on a personal note, it was also the way that I could get from state and washington all the way to the Thompson center by going underground too...and when its snowing/raining/frigidly cold that makes a difference...want to make fun of that too?

For the record, if it was just a matter of me walking the extra block, it wouldn't be an issue, but since I have problems walking due to health reasons, it does become problematic. Want to make fun of that as well? Lets close down a station for two years to make the Block 37 fiasco a reality...how much money was wasted there? Answer: Alot

As far as managers and other being fired, thats a joke. If people were being fired for not doing their job, then the rest of the employees would be worried about their jobs...and be doing a better one. That is not the case.

I posted the complaints in responses to the "Oh, Ron, he's my hero cause he cause he got a cad off a train"...my response if he wants to be my hero then fix the problems and fix them in a timely manner. a good transition if you ask me.

If we use a parallel, the new Top Cop in Chicago hasn't wasted any time in getting his department in order..there have been alot of very public, very effective promotion/demotion/firings that have got everyones attention...all the way down to the beat cops....maybe we should send Ron over there for lessons. He's only been on the job a couple months...and just so I know, when does Ron get to stop using the "I haven't been here that long excuse?" One year sounds good to me...I'll look forward to the day the honeymoon is over and the fanboys stop fawning over him.


Indeed, sarahab, this very site had people chime in to talk about how great it was that Kreusi regularly rode the system to stay apprised of its condition:


I'm not saying I miss him; I will say my jury's still out on Huberman. A hack's a hack, and they're both hacks.

Nice to see the WGN News is following your blog for story iedas. They ran the Ron Hubernman incident story. At least they credited the "CTA rider blog".

I was right on the train and saw it all happen. Hubernman was a better man than I that morning. The drunk guy was scared sh*tless when Ron got in his face and told him, "You're getting off on that next stop." I noticed a CTA pin on his messenger bag and thought, "I think that's the CTA president." Low and behold, it was. I won't stand idly by next time, Ron. Thanks for leading by example.

Ron Huberman is just awesome. We are so lucky to have him. I was really skeptical when Daley randomly handed someone down to replace Kreusi, but I was very pleasantly surprised. And, yeah, it's awesome to have a badass ex-cop running the place.

I have actually noticed improvements in bunching on the 62 Archer lately. I usually take Orange + Red to work, but the 62 is a one-stop ride, so I prefer it. However, a couple months ago, I tried to use it and the average wait was at least 20 minutes (sometimes 35) because 3-4 buses were bunched EVERY time. Nowadays, though, things are much changed. They do seem to be running close to every 7 minutes, one at a time, like they're supposed to, and, as a result, are not overcrowded - just full. I have no idea if this is Huberman's indirect doing or not, but I've seen a lot of improvements as of late, especially on the trains, so I wouldn't doubt it. Thanks.

So I was riding the SB Red Line tonight around 7:30 when we pulled into Fullerton. Some young kid apparently got caught sticking something (gum?) on the seat by what appeared to be a rail supervisor, who chased him between cars into my car. He then cornered him, told he and his friend to "sit down right there" and then proceeded to berate him the entire time between Fullerton and when the supervisor and I got off at Clark/Division. "Would YOU like to sit in that seat? What'd you do that for?" literally for like 5 straight minutes. I couldn't hear too well over the train noise, but it sounded like the kid kept defending himself by saying "it's just the train."

The kid was so uncomfortable, and I loved every minute of it. So congrats to you, rail supervisor guy. Thanks for standing up to unruly teens who treat the el like a garbage can.

Hi there, thought you'd be interested in knowing that I blogged about this tidbit on Chicago Metblogs as well as The Bastion.

Oops, look like I can't add links. Here goes:



Saw a posting how a vet was terminated by cta for serving his country, shame on you mr. huberman.

i was looking for web site for the jobs for cta bus cleaning

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