Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Letter to the %$#%^ CTA

Dear Idiots With Your Heads Up Your Asses:

For the second time within a week the Blue Line service along the Bucktown/Wicker Park corridor was suspended this morning with little explanation and even less alternative transportation to downtown provided.

With hundreds of people waiting at the Damen/North/Milwaukee corners for a 56 Bus, at least 50 waiting at the Hoyne/Milwaukee bus stop and who knows how many more stranded commuters streaming west in hopes of catching a bus before it filled up along the route I spent 45 minutes watching buses blow past us. Each driver pantomimed a clear message “Sorry, this bus is full. I would stop if I had room to squeeze anymore people on, but I can’t.” This would have been valid except that as the busses passed us it was plainly obvious that it was only the front half of the bus that was full because no one was willing to move back. There was plenty of room on those busses if the drivers had stopped and either insisted that his passengers move back or opened the back doors for us to get on. Instead we were forced to watch and wait as it got later and everyone started calling their offices to let them know they would be late.

Finally, at 9:22am, a full hour after I had arrived at the Six Corners looking to get on the CTA to get to work two busses made their way east on Milwaukee with no one in them. The first one had a Garage listed on its electronic signage even though there were obviously people on it. It did not even stop. The second bus tried to blow past us as well but hit traffic at the light. I ran to catch up with it and when he opened his doors the driver told me and the two other people who were still trying to get downtown that he had been instructed to run express until he got into The Loop.

We bullied our way onto this bus because when there are hundreds of people affected by a blue line stoppage it is unacceptable to have busses running “express” through a busy neighborhood. Not only is it unacceptable it is a completely irresponsible decision made on the part of the CTA. Do you even recognize how many people there are in a 15 block radius in Wicker Park/Bucktown that depend on the CTA every morning and every night to get them to and from work? Can you understand how angry we were at some faceless managerial decision that would leave us waiting for God knows how much longer until some other bus came along? Do you think we hang out at bus stops for our health? No, we have jobs to get to just as much as the employees of the CTA do. In the face of rising fuel costs, environmental impact of single rider cars and an over crowded city more and more citizens are dependent on the CTA to get them where they need to go. What is the matter with you people?

I am thoroughly disgusted with the management of the CTA system and I’m baffled by the fact that despite the CTA’s continual threats to raise fares, cut services and the infighting that prevents anything from being achieved that may possibly benefit the ridership no one seems to be able to guarantee us a transit system that works. A transit system that does not, in the span of a week, leave riders stranded twice with no information on why service has been suspended.

You guys really need to get your act together. This is a horrible display of mismanagement and is totally indicative of why the CTA keeps running up against problems getting measures passed. If you think that you can continue down this path of lackadaisical service and still raise fares you are going to have a city-wide riot on your hands and you will deserve every headache and every indictment thrown at you.

Good luck with all that.
Jennifer Maravegias
Bucktown Resident

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