Because I Said So

It is well documented that I LOVE Chicago. As I have said in other places, you will have to pry my cold dead body from this city to get me to live anywhere else; no matter how horrible the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago’s governments are run.

I take the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) everyday. I haven’t owned a car in the city since the year 2001 and I have loved every minute of it. I hate driving anyway, so the CTA works great for me because I don’t have to think; I just sit down and I arrive. Because of my love for the CTA I have been really annoyed recently as the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago are threatening each other to cut routes, frequency of rides and hike up the prices. Their internal political posturing only costs us! Take a look at this picture, which I took a few days ago while riding the bus:

 CTA Issues

Quick math tells us that since each ride on the CTA costs $2.25, and with 1.7 million people riding every weekday, the CTA earns $3.825 million per day! And that doesn’t include weekends or holidays, where all of those numbers skyrocket. On a low estimate then, the CTA annually receives over $1.5 BILLION in revenue.

Add on to that Obama gave the CTA $241 million in his brilliant stimulus package (of which the Chicago government says “Is still not enough”). Among other things, that bought Chicago 140 new Hybrid buses. The funny part to me is that every time you step on a new Hybrid bus, the loudspeaker says:

“This bus was bought by the City of Chicago through President Obama’s stimulus package.”

So then why, this morning, did my bus breakdown and all 70 of us had to wait 20 minutes for another bus to pick us up? AND, how come the CTA tells us that we’re getting a bargain at $2.25 because each ride should cost us $7?


That would mean on a low estimate the CTA would need almost $4 BILLION to break even? Give me a break. Health Care Plans cost $4 Billion, not public transportation. It’s no wonder why the publication POLITICO ran this article about the

7 Stories Obama Doesn’t Want Told

I think this article is extremely intriguing and brings up some interesting points—I would love to hear your thoughts as well. FYI, I fully agree with two of the points:

‘Obama Thinks he’s Playing with Monopoly Money’ and ‘That’s the Chicago Way’

While we’re on the subject, I have a sincere question:

President Obama, What’s up with the 30,000 additional troops? I thought you said in your campaign that you had an exit strategy already planned with no increase in troops, before you took office? What happened to that?

Much love.

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  • We are facing the same rhetoric here in San Diego. When I asked a SDMTS official if it’d be possible for those of us who ride the trolley for convenience to pay MORE so we could support routes in poor areas of the city… she just kind of laughed it off and blamed the state. (Who likely blames either the governor or the Fed.)

    Like you, I ride public transit because I think it’s the right thing to do and its convenient to me… not because I couldn’t afford a car or even a cab to work every day. It seems like there should be a mechanism for people like us to pay a little more to make sure under serviced communities get served… some of those riders couldn’t get to work otherwise!

    $4 billion to run the CTA? Um, seems like someone is on the take somewhere!

  • Wow – now that’s something I could get in to doing Adam. Brilliant.

  • Mrs T

    I still think certain lines could run less often, but with a schedule the people could depend on, like they have in smaller cities.
    I’m sure many are on the take, so I don’t buy that ‘services will be cut’ when taxes are cut or funding is low. Maybe those patronage workers should get some time off without pay!
    Keep up the fight on the CTA situation!

  • Sarah C.

    Someone is definitely on the take.

    I primarily get around the urban and suburban SF bay by bicycling, so I don’t pay too much attention to fares. But, I do know that in cities with thriving public transit systems, rides are extremely affordable – if not free. In Portland, the streetcars are completely free in the downtown area, FWIW. And, I believe their transit system is solvent (thought I haven’t seen the most recent data). Keep up the fight for Chicago!

  • Thanks Sarah! I always thought as well. I’ll keep trying to stick it to the man. Go Chicago 🙂