Tuesday, October 23, 2007

CTA Blues

For those of you outside the city, you may not be aware of the fact that Chicago boasts one of the most efficient and convenient public transportation systems in the world. Well... it used to. I used to be very proud of the fact that I could live in Chicago and get around as easily, if not better, than my four-wheeled counterparts. Oh, sure, every once in awhile you'd get burned. About once or twice a year you'd be on a train that would mysteriously stop and make you late. But compared to traffic accidents and slow downs, that was nothing.

Now, everyday is an adventure when you take the CTA. What used to take thirty minutes, I now plan on an hour and, if I really want to make sure I'm there on time, an hour and a half. It makes me wish I had a car, which defeats the whole green(er) thing I'm going for in my life. Public transportation shouldn't make you wish you had a car unless you live in Detroit and the automakers bought up the public transportation system and trashed it (which they did).

What's worse is that the CTA wants to raise their fares a dollar AND cut services. I would be all for this if it looked like they were even trying to run the current bus and train schedules on time. Instead, I'll find myself waiting 50 minutes for a Fullerton bus and then three pull up. Or I'll be waiting 30 minutes for a southbound train and watch five northbound trains pass by.

We need the CTA (as well as Metra and Pace) to be the best that they can be so we can reduce our dependence on foreign oil, help clean up the skies, and ease the congestion on our roadways. And if we see ourselves as a world class city capable of hosting the Olympics, we need a public transportation system that's not in shambles.

The CTA blames the government, the government blames the CTA and the passengers are taking it out on each other. Just to make life easier, please; get your bag off the seat, keep your legs out of the aisle, sit up instead of lying down, scoot over, move to the back, turn down your iPod, stop making out, take off your backpack, turn off your walkie-talkie - a walkie-talkie? what are you? A construction worker? No - just someone who likes to talk loud and use a lot of profanity - and, please, take a shower.


Yesterday, I asked....

"A married couple in Iran will NOT be stopped by police for doing what?"

37% said "Wearing matching t-shirts"
- Actually, no problem for the guy. A gal wearing a t-shirt would warrant the wrath of Allah.

12% thought "Kissing"
- No way. The Iranian police are like nuns at a school dance. No pda!

25% picked "Hugging"
- Nope. Couples must leave room for Muhammad.

25% got the right answer "Holding hands"

According to the AFP, Iran in April launched what has proved to be its most severe moral crackdown in years, handing out warnings to thousands of people for dress deemed to be unIslamic and other outlawed behavior. Iran's police are to keep up their moral crackdown through the winter months, confronting couples whose behavior in public is deemed to be inappropriate. Any kind of intimate cuddling between couples in public, let alone kissing, is a social taboo in Iran. Holding hands has become acceptable in the Islamic republic, so long as the partners are married. Now, I don't condone this type of oppression on self-expression, but could we borrow these guys to patrol the CTA?


kilax said...

Our public transportation system in Chicago is so embarrassing. But... I don't know what we can do about it. All I know is that I've seen much better!

Paul said...

Recent study found that people get downtown faster on bikes than either the CTA or Metra. Wwwwow.

Old Ned said...

Why is it that our civic leaders are willing to commit to spending billions of dollars to host an Olympics but not to fix the CTA? I'd love to see a referendum in which the public gets to make the choice -- I bet fixing the CTA would be picked over hosting the Olympics by a landslide.

Chicago used to be known as the city that works. We don't really need some prestige international event. What we really need is a working public transportation system!

Joe Janes said...

Thanks for the comment, Kimberly.

Well said, Ned.

Per biking, Paul, I'm all for it, except...

I used to be an avid bike rider and will still use my bike for short distances. I've cut back because there seems to be more bike riders out there and most of them are idiots. Between them and the drivers, it's very unsafe.

While a part of me is happy to see more bikes and less cars, I'm also pissed to see most of these bikers arrogantly disobeying laws and endangering pedestrians and drivers.