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CTA cuts jobs, overtime, other costs to cover big budget gap

Rising gas prices and unfunded state mandates for free rides -- among other things --  have forced the CTA to cut at least 80 administrative jobs, defer 2008 spending, cut overtime and reduce bus maintenance costs.

But -- for now -- the good news is there will be no fare increases or services cuts. For now -- meaning 2008. We'll have to see what the 2009 budget brings.

The jobs cuts and other savings are expected to save $40 million this year. But CTA Board Chairwoman Carole Brown warns that the CTA is "preparing people for what will be a very difficult 2009 budget season." Gulp.

The CTA press release says fuel costs "will be $37.3 million higher than last year; the loss of the reduced fare subsidy will be $16 million; the free ride program will cost at least $20 million this year, and the RTA has reported that tax proceeds are coming in lower than projected."

Other cost cutting initiatives already underway include:

  • deferring contract spending for non critical needs;
  • changing the labor mix to reduce reliance on overtime;
  • reducing bus maintenance costs through fleet upgrades and more efficient preventative maintenance practices; and
  • using technology to improve the efficiency of bus supervision, making supervisors mobile instead of stationary.

The CTA is especially hurt by all the free rides it must give, combined with lower projected revenue from tax increases due to an economic slowdown.

Comments

The free rides have to go. They were a bad idea to begin with.

They called it also when Blago added the free rides. They knew it was going to cause major problems down the line. They needed every dollar that the transit tax increase would bring and then he watered it down, then the city council with military rides and then Blago took away more recently vetoing the reduced-fare subsidy that the CTA has ALWAYS had even before the tax increase. Unreal. I can't wait to vote this governor out of office. He is a terrible blemish on the Democratic party. I think its too late to remove free rides completely, but I support an income level cut off for sure. This is a true example I personally know about: I know someone over age 65 and still works downtown making well over $100,000 rides the purple line down from Wilmette for FREE!! Meanwhile people making something like $40,000 and struggling to meet their family's financial needs are now going to have to help pay for these free rides through higher fares. Good going! I also blame the legislature in Springfield for not passing the income based amendment to it. Wasn't it Emil Jones that stopped that one?

From what I hear, the era of cheap gas is over. And while internally I understand CTA's need to reduce costs, the City's continued prosperity depends on people getting from home to work to shopping to back home again. A bus will always be more fuel-efficient than a car. We should be carving the hell out of the Streets and San budget, and keeping CTA fully funded. The days of the ubiquitous passenger car are over. The sooner our funding priorities recognize that, the sooner we'll be able to get a leg up on transportation costs overall.

Uhm, last time I checked buses run on roads, so what good does "carving the hell out of the Streets and San budget" do? Talk about getting money from the Skyway or tollways and then we're on to something.

I have to agree with the previous commenters above -- way to go, there, G-Rod, your ridiculous plan has, exactly as predicted, landed us in a pickle. And ain't nobody voting you back in office, either, pal, so this was just a complete waste on all fronts. Sad.

What was deeply annoying was reading the comments thread on the Trib article, yesterday. Typical suburban-city bickering, mingled with vast swaths of wrong information. The takeaway from those comments is that gosh, nobody is to blame for anything (except Huberman, who is too convenient a target to avoid spitballs). Arrrgh. Jeez. I think I would mind the incessant semiannual CTA funding crises much less if people would just quit being so NIMBY about it all. (Not to mention the commenters there who were all, "My neighbor works for CTA and brags how he's on the clock while he drives the kids to work and cuts his grass! How unfair!" and don't bother to, say, write a letter to anyone complaining about said neighbor's antics.)

As for me, I'm glad to see them making an attempt to mitigate the circumstances internally, rather than immediately giving up and slashing bus routes, again, and raising fares, again, and whining to the state, again. Maybe we will end up doing all three of those, again, but at least Huberman's trying to shake money out of the tree at home first before raiding the neighbors'.

Also, just for the record, anyone outside COok County who wants the Olympics to come to Chicago *totally* loses the right to complain about CTA asking them for money. No pain no gain, you freeloaders.

@Uhm -- I don't know if this is what Thomas Westgard was talking about, and I don't know if it's Streets & San's budget either, but one thing the city could *easily* cut and put into more productive things, like the CTA, is the decorative plants in the boulevards (like the planters between lanes of Ashland Ave., or on LSD). Not so much that they should not plant nice things to look pretty, but -- this drives me up a frigging wall -- every year they plant PERENNIALS, and then RIP THEM OUT at the end of their growing season. Like, every fall they go plant tulips and daffodils, which are plants that return every year, but as soon as they quit growing, they rip them out and put in summer blooming daylilies, then when it's fall they rip them out and put in mums. Those are all plants that you can leave them all there year round, and then they come back the next year, saving you the cost of having to buy your plants over and over, year in and year out. All they'd have to do is prune and maintain. Any halfway competent landscaper can tell you how to plan a layout to bloom for the full growing season, without constant upheaval. It makes me crazy to see all those bulbs lying there when the groundskeeping crews are at work -- it's like watching dollars dying on the pavement instead of plants.

And wow, I am totally off-topic with that rant, so I'll go back to my cave now. :)

No sabrina, I agree. I have never gotten an answer as to why the city spends SO much money on ripping out perfectly good plants and throwing them away. They do this througout the year and all over the city. It's absolutely ridiculous. Mobsters in the flower trades, perhaps? I hate it.

Thanks for nothing, Blago!

The cost-cutting initiatives listed above, undertakings as the result of a cash crunch, really should be items the CTA is aggressively pursuing in perpetuity, regardless of their budget.

Having said that, this is yet another instance of Blagojevich governing by sound byte, refusing to consider the ramifications of his boneheaded decisions in an effort to appear productive and a so-called "man of the people". It's insidious, insulting, and further proof that he's a sociopath and cannot be trusted.

Some of the previous posts decry the notion of why more rail lines and corresponding fewer bus routes are necessary. Buses are slow, inefficient, consume significant amounts of fuel, are associated with high labor and maintenance costs, and share the same potholed and congested roads as other vehicles. Buses will always be necessary, and especially so in a city like Chicago. But additional, well-placed rail lines would be a huge boon - less traffic, less environmental damage, more efficiency, and less labor and maintenance costs.

Yes, costs for building new lines are very expensive, and my thinking is most likely pie in the sky. But if the government can afford to distribute $160+ billion dollars in stimulus checks, why not a similar investment in infrastructure, putting people to work and actually enhancing the quality of life for everyone?

I actually think that when Madigan described Blagojevich as "a very confused guy" he was right on the money.

The funding formula and income sources for the RTA need to be reworked. Unfortunately that's not going to happen with the current legislature or our dim-witted governor at the helm.

How come no one has asked how many people Huberman has hired since his arrival? I'd venture to guess the high paying salaries of these cronies add up to more than the 80 job cuts he just made.

http://i35.tinypic.com/168yn1u.jpg

Here we go again. When can we vote this bozo out?

Do you have anything resembling proof that Huberman has hired $40 million worth of cronies? That's a lot of cronies...

With a slowing economy (tax shortfall), the short term bailout last year, and the mandated free rides it shouldn't shock anyone (least of all the gov) that the CTA is back in this position again.

Sabrina,

I was under the impression they don't throw those bulbs away, but rather reuse them...

As far as streets and sanitation budget goes, why not dedicate all parking meters and fines toward CTA?

Also, shame on that person for make 100K and taking a free handout of free transit. That's deplorable.

"How come no one has asked how many people Huberman has hired since his arrival? I'd venture to guess the high paying salaries of these cronies add up to more than the 80 job cuts he just made."
Posted by: City Bro | September 09, 2008 at 08:54 AM
~~~~~

You make an interesting point, CityBro. I doubt that the high salaries of his cronies could fill the $40 million hole, but as you pointed out, eliminating them could sure make a dent in the number of the 80 people they have to let go.

I'm not doubting the the CTA has some real funding issues beyond their control: Blago and his free rides, lower sales tax revenue, lower real estate transfer tax revenue, etc. However, I also think that Huberman has made some indefensible decisions.

I read an interesting post from another blog a few weeks ago (quote below). It it's true, it shows that Huberman sure has some questionable methods of saving money.

****copied post from other blog begins*****
The lack of revenue from the increased sales tax and new real estate tax is a real problem for the CTA's budget and bottom line. (Depending on taxes is never a good thing.)

However, an even bigger drain on the budget are all the new political hacks (and castoffs from city departments) that Huberman brought in.

Barbara McDonald (CPD civilian?) - $160K
Karen Rowan (CPD?) - $140K
Sara Kremser (City Hall-Budget) - $140K
Jeff Ahmadian (City Hall) - $130K+
Lydia Murry (City Hall-Budget)- $140K+
Maria Choco Urban (City Hall) - $100K+
Susan Kennedy (City Hall) - $120K
Adrienne Heigel (City Hall) - $120K
Adam Case (CityHall-Budget) - $120K

And these are just some of the big shots at vice-president or above level. This doesn't count all THEIR new underlings from the City who all make $70-100K+

Only two of these positions (Rowen and Murry) are replacing people in existing positions. All these other people are a brand new drain on the budget. And many of these people are doing the same things that staff in the CTA's law department, budget department, and personnel department are already doing.

I'm sure these salaries aren't the only drain on the budget or the cause of the CTA's funding problem, but it sure shows a bad pattern of fiscal (ir)responsibility.

Huberman should be dumping previous City Hall flunkies, not adding more. And not dumping hard working people in a working department only to outsource their duties to a politically-connected real estate company. What's next? Selling low-ridership stations and land to developers to build condos?
***end quoted post****

Why does everyone scream so loud when someone makes 100K? Does anyone have any proof that these people are bumbling idiots, or do you just assume they are because they get paid a lot and work for the CTA and/or the City of Chicago?

If you were really good at your job, would you want to make a good salary as well? People that are good at their jobs deserved to be paid appropriately.

Now, I'm not individually defending these people, but nobody has any proof against them except that they get paid higher salaries than most CTA employees, which is no proof at all they are a "crony".

^5 Chris.

There's an assumption out there that anyone working for the city, state, or any other public agency such as CTA is overpaid, didn't work for their job, and is politically connected. That couldn't be farther from the truth. There are countless people within all of these organizations who work extremely hard at salaries that are quite often below what the private sector pays. I'm tired of seeing this written without any proof... and I'd hardly call what avid reader copied from another blog as being proof. All you have is a name and a salary- do you know what these people are doing for CTA? The fact that only two of those people replaced existing positions means nothing- under a reorganization, common when a new president/ceo comes on board, new positions and departments are created all the time.
There's nothing wrong with being suspicious of the way things are done, but it IS wrong to make assumptions about the work ethic of people you don't know. In my job I've worked with countless public employees and many of these people are brilliant and love their jobs. Calling them 'hacks' simply because they make a good salary working for a public agency is short-sighted, demeaning, and cruel.

Thanks for posting Patrick.

It's an assumption, as you said, and you know what happens when people assume.

We may not even get a chance to vote Blago out of office. It seems Rezko's been spending a lot of time talking with the feds lately and may be planning on becoming a witness in exchange for a lighter sentence. Oh the tales I'm sure he could tell.

While I have no doubt, RonH brought a raft of people with him from City Hall, he may not have had a choice about all of them. We all know who really runs the CTA.

The mainstream media is doing their best to whip the riding public into a frenzy with their focus on fare increases, which are only being discussed. The print media has stuck to the facts for the most part. The Tribune had a great editorial today about Blago's unfunded free rides. Network TV news has unfortunately feasted on teasers like, "CTA FARE INCREASES COMING!" when no such thing has been formally proposed. Then they stick a microphone in someone's face so they can complain about CTA based on erroneous information.

Part of CTA's problem is that it was allowed to act like an irresponsible teenager for too long and now that it's trying to be more responsible, no one trusts it. It's going to take a really long time for riders and taxpayers to completely believe what anyone at CTA says.

Things could be worse. We could be in New York where the MTA (like RTA) and NYC Transit are still waiting for a permanent funding solution from the state like we got last January. There are serious revenue deficits since the economic downturn has hit real estate and Wall Street hard. New Yorkers have faced two fare increases in the last two years and MTA is considering another early next year.

--------
Uhm, last time I checked buses run on roads, so what good does "carving the hell out of the Streets and San budget" do? Talk about getting money from the Skyway or tollways and then we're on to something.
--------

Okay, you don't like my phrasing. How about if we "restructure Streets and San to make buses first priority instead of cars." For example, the street in front of my office is sixty feet wide. Only about twenty of that is needed for bus traffic. First there's paved space along the curb for people to park their cars, and there are a total of four lanes of traffic (two each way). One major cost-saving option would be to pave only the center two lanes, and reserve that for buses and emergency vehicles. The outer part could be switched to gravel. Another layer would be to keep the paved area currently used for parking, but change it to a bike lane.

I realize that would make using a car much harder, but that's my point. Right now we are using all these government resources to support the use of passenger cars. I don't own stock in GM, but I do live in Chicago. I would rather see the resources that are available used in the most efficient way. People who really need to drive can do so just fine on gravel (as they have for many decades), and people who are just looking to go from here to there can ride the bus.

From the perspective of someone who wants to preserve the status quo, this is pretty radical. Yep.

How often are potholes filled in the parking lane? (Excluding blocks that aldermen live on, of course.)

When a street is rebuilt, that doesn't come out of Streets & San's operating budget. That's capital spending. (And I'm going to admit that I don't know how Chicago gets the revenue, but I can tell you that Federal funding for highways in a city only pay a percentage on actual traffic lanes. In many places, parking lanes and sidewalks are assessed to the abutting property owner.)

But once that parking lane is paved, maintenance costs are very low. Probably the most expensive maintenance is snowplowing and sweeping. Sweeping is done not for aestetic reasons, but primarily to sweep up stuff before it gets in the storm sewer, so in a sense, the parking lane is part of the drainage system.

And you definately don't want to combine a gravel parking lane with a storm sewer system, especially if under that gravel is hard, clay soil. You're just asking for flooding.

Letting the streets go unmaintained would have a horrible, adverse effect on the bus system. It's short-sighted, and ignores that pavement is more than just a smooth surface for cars to drive on.

Enough is enough! It is so sad that Blago seemed so promising when he was elected. Now it's time to dump his sorry ass. I remember that "Howdy Doody"-like picture of him in the Sun-Times. What an insult to Howdy Doody!

My dream is for the CTA to defy the governer's orders and issue a statement saying "The governer's orders notwithstanding, free rides for senior citizens will be eliminated as of 10/1/2008. The last time I checked, the CTA is NOT a state agency.

I'm from Chicago, a CTA user like the rest of you. And I ask, "Would 'Doomsday' have been so bad?" And the answer is no, it would not have been. Think about it! A 50+% reduction in bus service would have been the catalyst for change that the CTA and RTA needed. It would have demonstrated concretely that a real solution was necessary.

So instead of "Doomsday", what did we get? Another short-sighted bailout as opposed to any real solution. Like others have said, instead, what we got was a short-sighted "solution" that simply delayed the inevitable once again. We received the worst possible "solutiion" of all--a bailout that cost more by giving out free rides and relied on a huge sales tax increase (in a recession!) and a real-estate transfer tax increase (during a housing slow-down and a mortgage crisis!). What the fu@k kind of "solution" was this?

I already drive out to the suburbs to make major purchases. The money I save more than makes up for the gas in getting out there.

We already know that another "Doomsday" is coming. We already know that it will be the same old "song-and-dance". And this time I hope that 60% of the system gets eliminated because THEN and ONLY THEN will a positive solution be forthcoming. Because if it doesn't, we'll get the same old "band-aid".


Roz,

You raised some interesting points. Increasing my taxes during a recession was a STUPID idea. Thanks to high taxes, higher prices, and raising a family, my wife and I are simply spending less. A lot less! And like you, we're saying "Fuck You" to Stroger/Daley/Blago by making our major purchases in the burbs! Giving away free rides during a funding crisis was a STUPID idea.

Here's an idea for the CTA, RTA, Metra, and Pace. Revenues not meeting expenses? Then cut, cut, and cut expenses. Get rid of routes that are a fiscal drain on the system. Raise fares too. The private sector knows that this is what you have to do: reduce expenses and increase revenues. Why is that so hard for the CTA, RTA, Metra, and Pace to grasp?

Get rid of unproductive routes, raise fares to $2.50 ($1.25 for students, children, and seniors), and watch how quickly the budget gets balanced! Considering that gas is still over $4.00 a gallon in the city, and considering what parking costs, not to mention congestion, and $2.50 or even $2.75 a ride still is a bargain by comparison.

Oh, and in case you are wondering, I'm not some suburban NIMBY or downstater. I ride the CTA to work everyday too.

>>>
Get rid of routes that are a fiscal drain on the system. Raise fares too. The private sector knows that this is what you have to do: reduce expenses and increase revenues. Why is that so hard for the CTA, RTA, Metra, and Pace to grasp?
<<<

Do you think it's because the goal is to provide a public service, not to make a profit?

By the same logic, let's stop spending money on restaurant inspections. The licensing fees they generate don't turn a profit. Same for building inspections.

And the police should stop responding to calls that won't result in tickets and fines.

I agree that free rides for people who can afford to pay the fare was a bad idea, but during bad times we can't afford to cut service just because a particular service isn't bringing in enough revenue.

The goal of a transit system is not to generate revenue. It's to provide services that are needed for the economy to function. And sometimes that means little utilized services need to be continued.

Expecting a public transit system to act like a private for-profit company is as wrong as appointing a political hack with no experience to run it.

I agree that you can't expect the CTA to generate a profit, at the same time I don't expect it to be running routes into areas with no people. The 50/50 compromise was a good idea, the CTA still has to collect 50% of it's revenue for fares. If the CTA can't cover 50% of the cost from fares, then the particular line should be axed.

What's interesting is how the release of 80 administrative staff persons should a complete non-story. The CTA has an annual OPERATING budget of about $1.2 billion, salaries and pensions are the majority of this amount. Per the trib, the CTA has over 1,000 administrative staff persons, doing gawd knows what...something very important apparently...like renaming parts of the blue line to the pink line. So firing 80 out of 1000 is really no bid deal. I bet you the turn around is 10%-15% of these employees every year anyways, so the 80 people isn't really much higher than what would happen anyways. Instead, Huberman goes into alarm mode just because he had to release some employees just like everyone has to during a recession and high oil prices. Alarm, alarm! I have to do some managerial work! Alarm!!!!

Yes. 80 FTE can pretty much be accomplished by delaying the replacement process by a few weeks, and leaving just a handful of positions actually vacant.

Perhaps the city should impose a $40M increase in real estate taxes on a certain residence on W. Sunnyside Avenue, and provide the proceeds to the CTA.

I have a feeling most of us wouldn't be opposed.

With the exception of New York, Chicago I believe is the only other city with a farebox recovery ratio anywhere near 50%. Most cities are very happy to get 30-40%. This includes other large transit-dependent cities such as San Francisco. I'd like to see users of the expressways, tollways, Lake Shore Drive pay 50% of the operating costs to use it. Tolls would have to double from current rates. The Tollways still get plenty of taxpayer money, they are not 100% self-sufficient.

I'm pretty sure, Ed, that when you include gas (which you must if your argument is going to make sense) the drivers on the expressways pay well over 50% of the costs of operating a car there.

How does including the cost of gas mean that drivers pay for the cost of operating toll roads? The only thing in the cost of gas that goes to the toll roads is a small tax and I am sure that tax is not portioned to the amount of money that it cost to build and maintain that road for each individual considering the amount of federal money and other funds that go in to roads.

This is not difficult to figure out. When I said that you need to "include gas" in the analysis of the cost, I meant including gas. By that I meant the cost of gas for those who drive. The whole thing. Ed was suggesting that people who use those roads do not "pay 50% of the operating costs to use it.". Any defintion of "the operating costs to use it" would have to include gas. When you drive on the road, gas is an operating cost in your transportation. That would also allow you to more easilly compare it to public transportion, which Ed was doing. Gas is certainly an operating cost for the CTA.

Well, when we're totally costs of operating on the highway, then one of the costs also has to be the presence of mass transit which takes other cars off the road, allowing freer movement of traffic.

So my bus fare is contributing not just to cover the costs of public transportation, since public transportation benefits SOV drivers, part of my bus fare needs to be attributed to my contribution to their operating costs.

See how complex this can get when you try to get down to the real nitty-gritty?

When I choose to ride the bus, I'm helping out the car driver. When the car driver choses to drive, they're not helping me out. And that needs to be factored into the costs just as gas does.

Yep. That's correct as well. And I think I probably agree with Ed's larger point that recovering 50% of cost at the farebox is pretty high. I am probably fairly unusual in that I get equally annoyed when I see someone make incorrect or misleading arguments in support of a position I agree with as I do when I see people do the same for something I disagree with. For example, I will be voting for John McCain but I find utterly ridiculous the claim he is making that Palin was a strong fighter against the bridge to nowhere in Alaski. She had supported the bridge until everyone else was against it and it was clear it was not going to be built. But I guess most people who support McCain will delude themselves into thinking otherwise.

Actually Paul, the CTA is a state agency.
It was created by the state legislature in 1947 to take over the bankrupt Chicago Rapid Transit Co. & the bankrupt Chicago Surface Lines. It has the legal right to operate throughout Cook & DuPage counties.
Both were broke because the Illinois Commerce Commission wouldn't let them raise the then 10¢ fare.
The CTA immediately raised the fare to 12¢ as the CTA doesn't need the permission of the ICC to raise fares like a private bus company does!
The CTA then forced the takeover of the Chicago Motor Coach Co. in 1953, even though it was actually making money.

"....Only two of these positions (Rowen and Murry) are replacing people in existing positions. All these other people are a brand new drain on the budget. And many of these people are doing the same things that staff in the CTA's law department, budget department, and personnel department are already doing.

"I'm sure these salaries aren't the only drain on the budget or the cause of the CTA's funding problem, but it sure shows a bad pattern of fiscal (ir)responsibility.

"Huberman should be dumping previous City Hall flunkies, not adding more. ....."
----

So how many of the 80 administrative positions/employees that are being cut have already been replaced with Ron's new cronies? Is there really any cost-savings in eliminating these people or have they merely been supplanted by more and higher-paid people? I'm curious. I'm not against higher salaries, I'd like one myself. But I am against the spin game he seems to be playing with us - the fare and tax-payers.


What's this about a transit academy that the CTA is starting with the public schools? In July, their board meting agenda had an item "To approve a Resolution regarding a
Transit Academy. "

Now the charter schools are hiring staff for this school. How much CTA resources will be spent on this project?

Transit Academy?? at the high school level??

http://www.incschools.org/200806202.html

Edison,

You are simply making assumptions that he is making spin games? What proof do you have?

Scare tactics much?

Face it folks, recessions are temporary. This one should begin to recede once the shrub is out of office.

Drastically reducing service(old doomsday) helps in the short term, but that still leaves hundreds of busses just sitting around, hundreds of PEOPLE out of work and tens of thousands of PEOPLE out of transit options.

Doomsday would not have helped in the long term. It only HURTS the city and its population. More drivers, more people trying to cram in to the city to be near transit again, more crowding on the remaining bus lines.

Regardless, here we go again with this stuff. Like most, I make many of my major purchases in the burbs, but I take the CTA and Pace to get there.

But that money you pay for gas and insurance and what not goes to operating your own car not the maintenance and building of the roads.

While I'd like to be able to eliminate vehicle maintenance costs from the cost of transportation for drivers of cars to bolster the case for mass transit, to truly compare apples to apples, we'd have to eliminate vehicle maintenance costs from the cost of mass transit as well.

If you're not looking at all the costs, you have to be able to justify why you're not looking at certain costs. (For example, indirct costs that are hard to calculate, assuming that you have roughly the same degree of this on both sides, and proponents of both sides can stipulate that it's okay to ignore the whole list.)

But that's not the case for vehicle maintenance costs. Just like buses don't magically appear free of operating expenses, privately owned cars don't, either.

But conversely, when I get on my bus, the fact that I'm keeping another car off the road provides a significant benefit to the private vehicle owner, and that benefit needs to be included in any discussion about the economics of public transportation.

I like the $800,000 contract awarded to Jones Lang LaSalle to manage CTA revenue generating properties for $800,000/per year for 5 years and JLL states they will increase revenue generated from these properties from $7M/year to $20M/year. Plus there is a new Chief Marketing Officer at $190,000/year to oversee this contract. We've all seen the properties, leaking roofs, bad utilities, this isn't an A-Class portfolio we are talking about. And the CTA doesn't have excess property adjacent to these properties for Transit Oriented Development. So we get CTA employees laid oof at the $60,000 level replaced by a million dollar contract and a "Chief" making 3 times what an actual working employee made.

Oh, and don't forget the latest about the loop signal upgrade...looks like it's not going to be finished on time or within budget...what were the odds?

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-cta-loop-websep11,0,5307394.story


KevinB


Rusty,

When I said "The private sector knows that this is what you have to do: reduce expenses and increase revenues. Why is that so hard for the CTA, RTA, Metra, and Pace to grasp?"

I wasn't implying that the CTA should be run as a for profit enterprise instead of a public service. But it seems to make sense that if the CTA does this (reduce expenses and increase revenues), it will be in a lot better fiscal shape.

Unindicted Co--

"Actually Paul, the CTA is a state agency.
It was created by the state legislature in 1947 to take over the bankrupt Chicago Rapid Transit Co. & the bankrupt Chicago Surface Lines."

Your right, I forgot about that. Still, I would LOVE to see the CTA give Blago the finger!

But I do remember reading that the CMC was reasonably profitable, most likely because it operated a more specialized service (on the boulevards and parking lot shuttles).

"It has the legal right to operate throughout Cook & DuPage counties."

You're right again. I remember reading a proposal that the CTA take over the Chicago Aurora & Elgin main line to Wheaton and operate it with, of all things, pre-WWII PCC cars! So, the CTA would have needed the authority to operate into DuPage.

There was once a proposal to operate the Skokie Swift (Yellow Line) all the way to Lake-Cook Road, if I'm not mistaken. The CTA has no authority to operate into Lake County.

But I can't think of any CTA routes that regularly operate in DuPage.

====
But I do remember reading that the CMC was reasonably profitable, most likely because it operated a more specialized service (on the boulevards and parking lot shuttles).
====

Yep. If you cherry-pick, you can operate a profitable mass transit system. And that's why CTA was allowed to take them over. It was simply not good public policy to let a for-profit company profit from cherry-picked routes, leaving the chafe for the public to pick-up. The theory is that those profits being taken should be used to subsidise the less profitable, but necesarry service.

Rusty,


And yet ironically that idea is what many proponents of privatization are pushing. Sell off the best routes to private companies.

I toyed with the idea of privatizing some or all of the 'L' but I remember all to well the privatization of British Rail

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