Chicago Sun-Times

Worst train or bus line?

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Is there a CTA or Pace bus route that you avoid taking because you know it's either going to be late, filthy or just plain unpleasant because of rude passengers, cranky drivers or some other fill-in-the-blank annoyance?

By the same token, which Metra line has a tendency to make you late for work?

In short, which bus or rail lines aren't worth the fare?


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What people don't understand is that certain routes are out of certain garages, and that service (and drivers' friendliness) is bound to be very similar. Despite having the same buses and drivers, certain routes will (obviously) be worse than others due to road congestion, route ridership, bus frequency, and bus age. These are the worst routes out of each garage:


North Park Garage
22 / 36 / 147 / 151 / 152 / 200

Forest Glen Garage
56 / 77 / 81 / 91 / 152

Chicago Garage
20 / 53 / 57 / 65 / 66 / 72 / 121

Kedzie Garage
8 / 12 / 82 / 121 / 143 / 145

Archer Garage
49 / X49 / 50 / 60 / 62

74th Garage
9 / X9 / 44 / 48 / 53AL / 55 / 63

77th Garage
1 / 3 / 4 / 24 / 49A / 79 / 87

103rd Garage
15 / X28 / 29 / 34 / 103 / 111 / 119

What people don't understand is that certain routes are out of certain garages, and that service (and drivers' friendliness) is bound to be very similar. Despite having the same buses and drivers, certain routes will (obviously) be worse than others due to road congestion, route ridership, bus frequency, and bus age. These are the worst routes out of each garage:


North Park Garage
22 / 36 / 147 / 151 / 152 / 200

Forest Glen Garage
56 / 77 / 81 / 91 / 152

Chicago Garage
20 / 53 / 57 / 65 / 66 / 72 / 121

Kedzie Garage
8 / 12 / 82 / 121 / 143 / 145

Archer Garage
49 / X49 / 50 / 60 / 62

74th Garage
9 / X9 / 44 / 48 / 53AL / 55 / 63

77th Garage
1 / 3 / 4 / 24 / 49A / 79 / 87

103rd Garage
15 / X28 / 29 / 34 / 103 / 111 / 119

I take the Union Pacific from Elmhurst to Wheaton round trip. They are chintzy with opening railcars. Yesterday I got on at River Forest. There was only one rail car available to sit in very crowded. The conductors get on at different stops and each take one rail car. The customers have to search all over for a seat. Then you'll see an empty rail car that the conductor can hang out in. On the Burlington Northern the conductors are capable of handling multiple rail cars and they all get on downtown. That is a much better experience.

The 713 Pace bus is a hellish ride. The driver is fine. No problem there. The main issue is that it goes through Lucent Technology (multiple complexes) which have a gazillion super large speed bumps. You have to make sure your teeth are not close together so you don't gnash them. The schedule leaves no margin for a problem. You get picked up at work 8 hours after you get there. If one thing goes wrong you can't put in a full day. There are only a few people riding it because it's a pain. Its one of those super loud school buses with the engine on the inside.

#62 is always late, there are usually 3-4 buses directly behind each other. I called the CTA numerous times about this route and they always tell me that there is a problem crossing train tracks and getting stuck waiting for trains. Well, if they KNOW the problem, there should be a way to FIX it! Break the route!

On the flip side - the #18 is always clean. If anything, it's a little early. I've been on it's route several times and known the bus to be late once. Once! Also - most of the operators on this route are friendly. Very nice.

A solution to unclean filthy buses is to do like Pace and have a small waste basket attached near the door. People would throw their trash away if they had somewhere to throw it. That's why people leave trash on the trains and busses -- no waste cans.

Posted by: Sally | July 4, 2007 07:19 PM

CTA had them at one time by the back door attached to the pole. Matter of fact it even had a plastic bag inside the receptacle which the bus driver could tie & dispose of at the end of each route before turning around. Eventually, there were not any trash bags but the receptacle was still there. Now it is gone. I DO NOT KNOW WHY CTA REMOVED THEM OFF THE BUS!

Anyone know why?

I have suspicions where individuals job titles get in the way of doing a little extra something with conflict over what a person duties are. Example: Mass Transportaion Mover/Driver NOT Cleaning & Janitorial Employee. I will admit the buses do become dirty and nasty, but I do not think it is above a Mass Transportation Mover/Driver when completing a route, having to return the other way, the individual cannot go through the bus and at least toss newspapers, bottles, cups and other bigger items into a trash can. I would NOT expect them to sweep up sunflower seeds. People who eat this and other like items while tossing the shells on the floor have other issues.

CTA might need to budget plastic gloves for Mass Transportaion Movers/Drivers to perform this task. CTA employees, please remember one thing, YOU WORK WITH and FOR THE PUBLIC! I know it is not an easy job. People are loud, talking on cell phones, AND WILL NOT MOVE TO THE BACK OF THE BUS when REQUESTED! But the buses do not have to be as filthy as they are some times either.

I am NOT pointing fingers RTA/CTA personnel.

In response to Mary Lupa's comment about adding a trash receptacle on buses; what would be the point? I was sitting behind a CTA bus (waiting for a freight train) at 103rd and Vincennes three weeks ago (7/15) when I watched a CTA bus driver sweep all the trash out of his bus and onto the pavement. What a pig. I even tried calling the CTA’s customer service (1-888-YOURCTA), but the operator made it pretty clear she didn’t think the infraction or my information (route number, bus, number, time and date) was too important.

The worst bus routes are the #4 Cottage Grove, #22 Clark & the #36 Broadway.
It's not uncommon on any of these to wait 30 minutes or more for a bus during the day.
All are supposed to run 10 minutes apart.
HA!
Clark is always a mess when the Cubs play.
Cottage is a total disaster because so many of the passengers are just idiots & try to not pay.
I once waited an 40 minutes for a Broadway, I gave up & walked, at Clark & Devon, the end of then line, after an hour, both I & 6 Broadway buses showed up at the same time,.
A new record for bunching.

Route 121 from union station, this bus never runs on time and sometimes never shows up

A solution to unclean filthy buses is to do like Pace and have a small waste basket attached near the door. People would throw their trash away if they had somewhere to throw it.

If you go to the Howard station there is only ONE trash can on the platform. I leave my papers and trash in the train because I can never find the one lone trash can, or it's way down at the end. When you're changing trains you don't have time to walk all the way down the platform to throw away papers and trash. That's why people leave trash on the trains and busses -- no waste cans.

Gotta be the #60 Blue Island CTA bus. Always crowded, people just won't step up to the middle of the bus. Million twists and turns in the route - and then there is the guy carrying the cross of Calvary.

No. Since I don't own a car, I can't be choosy. The only train or bus I don't get on is one that has no more room on it.

On the other end of things, the speed of the Green Line going out to Oak Park is awesome. I suppose it's because that's the newest elevated structure. As a Red Line regular, I had forgotten how fast a CTA train could go.

The Ashland #9 and the #9-Express are never on time or clean. When I catch the bus in the afternoon going home the trash is horrible. Chip bags, sunflower seeds, empty bottles of water, & soda, spilled pop, newpapers, etc.
Please forbide there is a Cub's game, there are no #9 going south, and when the buses finally come, {more than two}, they are packed and the customers have waited between 30-45 minutes. It happens everytime
there is a Cub's game. The buses going north in the morning, are always late but it is not as bad as the evening going south.

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This page contains a single entry by Monifa Thomas published on July 2, 2007 11:10 AM.

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