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Tuesday, January 15, 2008



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As you may be aware, while not playing Old Maid in the Cloakroom, the Illinois State Legislature has been going through many machinations this month to solve the Chicago Transit Authority's funding crisis.

Illinois Governor Rob Blagojevich stunned all of the politicos in Illinois and Chicago especially when he finally announced, through an amendatory veto, the part of the CTA rescue plan that he'd been keeping under his thinking cap, probably so that he'd get sole credit for it, that all senior citizens would ride free under his new plan, leading to the headline above, albeit, I hope a fictional one.

Illinois Governor's New Transit Plan Solves Senior Homeless Problem at One, er, Stroke

Not that Senior Citizens ever have strokes, or would ride CTA perpetually in cold weather under the new plan.

Or would shoot CTA Service Planning all to heck and back by giving unlimited riding to any market segment.

Of course, there are some benefits to the plan, a lot of Senior riding is in the off-peak, that is from 9 am to 3 pm on weekdays and on the weekends, when CTA has more capacity. One problem though is that Seniors tend to be early risers and may be tempted to ride early, between 5:30 and 7:30 when CTA does not have extra capacity.

A simple solution would be to charge everyone the same thing during these times, Senior Citizen or no, or, to charge the current half fare during peak hours. Otherwise, CTA may be forced to purchase even more equipment than it has now, and given its current capital needs crisis that would not be a good thing.

Yes, I thought of other headlines that could be in our future:

New Senior Fare Plan Leads To Need For Bathrooms on Buses and Trains

What the El is Leaking From That Train?

CTA Now Has More Depends-Able Public Transportation

New Bus Routes To Go Past Funeral Home Viewing Windows In Off-Peak On Request, Seniors Dying to Use New Service Option

I'm Tired Of Your Complaining Mom, Go Jump On A Bus!

CTA Ridership Up, Seats Down, Seniors Eye Chicago As New Vacation Mecca

Of course, this is all in fun. What ever they can do to give CTA a stable source of income without stealing from the hard working employees and retirees of CTA is a good thing, in my book.

By the way, if you come to Chicago from out of town, don't forget to check the CTA's Website which can give you information, maps and fare information that can save you money on all your travel around Chicago.

Did you know that coming into downtown from O'Hare or Midway you can save $30 to $40 taking CTA's safe Blue and Orange lines and as much as 30 and 40 minutes as well? That time and money combination is hard to beat!

Correction and Information:

After first publishing this I realized that my spelling wrecking title was intact as I had misspelled our Governor's last name, now corrected. In the process, I came across Eric Zorn's Blog in the Chicago Tribune that explains in quite a bit of detail the whole Chicago Transit Authority funding Doomsday mess and why he and a lot of other people think this Seniors Rides Free idea is a bad one.

I think that everyone commenting on the issue is missing the central point that since Reagan cut funding of Transit Operations (not Capital Funding) to transit properties in the 90's, in Chicago that was a loss of 80+ million a year, Illinois, unlike many other states, never figured out a way to pick up the difference. (Cf: NYCTA, Boston, Septa, etc). Instead its been blame CTA for problems caused elsewhere and lack of the political will to do what was needed. And in a region that needs CTA as much as this one does, not to mention Pace and Metra, that's no joke.

I can't help wondering why, when after the last 3 census counts when Chicago lost population, legislators were eager to cut CTA, why after the last census when the City of Chicago's population grew, legislators were not more willing to sustain or even expand CTA?

Especially since the new population, Hispanics, are very likely to use CTA for many of their trips.

Makes you wonder, doesn't it.

Seniors Refuse Free Rides On CTA, Want Free Cars From Oprah Instead

Sorry. I couldn't resist.

Everybody laughs at kumquats! Why is that?

Peter, Chief Editor and Spelling Wrecker
The Peter Files Blog of Comedy, Satire and Commentary

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

We've had this in London for many years. It makes better use of the existing bus stock, increases levels of social and consumer activity and above all saves lives by getting people who are susceptible to depression outside the prison walls of home.

1/27/2008 4:40 AM  

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