Chicago Sun-Times

What will you do?

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In less than two weeks, the CTA and Pace will raise fares and in the CTA's case, dramatically cut service, unless the state legislature provides millions in additional funding.

What will you as a CTA or Pace rider do if that happens? Do you have the option of driving? If not, what are your alternatives and how do you think the cuts and fare hikes will affect your quality of life?

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What will I do?

1. Driving is not an option. Between gas and parking, it would cost me roughly $140/week to drive into the city. If these cuts take place, and hundreds of thousands of commuters are forced to drive into the city instead of taking public transportation, what then? The city doesn't have the infrastructure to handle that amount of additional traffic. Getting in or out of the city would take three hours even when the weather is nice.

2. Drive to the train station? Considering that there is a 2-7 year wait for parking permits at the suburban train stations, what would I do with my car when I got there?

3. Walk? Certainly an option, but its 4 miles from my house to the train station, and 3 miles from the train station to my job. I'd certainly be in good shape walking 14 miles a day, but a typical day would be 16 hours.

That leaves option #4, which is the only viable option: Quit my job, and do whatever I can to make sure every single state official currently in office leaves with a box in their hand after the next election. Does anyone in the state government actually believe they will have a job after the next election unless they make sure the RTA has all the money they need?

You want to know what is on Blagojevich's web site?

It says he added more than $3.8 billion in new funds for schools and preschool, and that he "signed the state's Fiscal Year 2008 budget exercising his veto authority to remove $463 million in "pork" projects to improve health care security"

Pork, huh? Is that what transportation in Chicago is to Blagojevich?

Well - this whole situation has me upset and feeling very used. I do not believe that cutting the 4 buses that can get me to work will solve anything. These buses are ALWAYS packed...there are times that we cannot even pick everyone up. I believe that they are hitting the train station express buses to get the most reaction. They are more than makin their money on $2 a head... oh yeah.
You are not winning any points with the suburban commuters this way CTA - but I suppose that you don't care - this is ALL about getting more money.

(I did write to my congressman - he wrote back - said the same thing I am saying. Poor planning is to blame)

First of all I'm tired of RTA using CTA funding and service cuts as a way to get more money for RTA's executive salaries. The Governor is correct to reject a tax increase (I'm shocked at the Mayor). I have not seen a list of Pace and Metra service cuts and fare increases, so CTA deserves the bailout immediately to allow more time to find more appropriate funding. What need to happen is a separation of RTA. RTA's board only decides how to spend CTA's money across the region,(TV sets for PACE); collect six figure salaries, then cry CTA don't have enough money!

RTA should cut PACE and their salaries to fund CTA!

I will write a letter to the Olympic Committee, and all of you should too. If Daly is going to hit us where it hurts, then we should hit him back.

I plan on driving more.

This CTA/RTA baloney has been going on for years and everytime whichever clown in gov. steps in and saves the day at the very last minute.

This time it's Blago's turn to save the Masses.
These reruns get old after 30+ years.
Maybe they'll fix it right this time?
But I doubt it.

This is a joke, we just had recent elections where this was not even brought up at all. How is CTA funded if not by our higher than average city taxes? I find this horrible that not one alderman is speaking out on this. This is a tragedy.

I only use the CTA and Pace to get to and from work. I have no other choice, unless I borrow my parent's car. I would rather read and relax while going to and from work riding mass transit, instead of driving. I will still use CTA, because it's still cheaper than having a car.

I will be driving more. I live north and work south. The cuts will force me to hop in my ride.

The state has been abdicating its responsibility in so many areas. This is just one more example.

I solved that problem years ago when I moved out of Chicago. I will say that riding the el between the cars was fun during the summer. I'm sure that much has changed since 1970, but I always will miss the many different ethnic neighborhoods. You may feel differently now, but back then a little boy (me) could travel all around Chicago by way of the elevated, buses and the trolley without being accosted by a stranger.
Regarding the comment about "the state not allowing it to happen" gives me the giggles. I always find humor in another's naiveté that the "state" will provide. I'm sure the folks that survived Hurricane Katrina have lost faith in the government. All-in-all I'm sure you folks will survive the oversight of city government and I'm also sure that you will gleefully pay more taxes for a system that is close to breaking. Reread Carl Sandburg's poem about Chicago being the butcher, farmer, etc of the world and wonder where all the jobs went. Why do you keep going Downtown to work?
I've looked toward the future and have a three year old quarter horse mare in my barn. For a fill-up, during a trip, I only have to pull over to the side of the road. I also have four acres in alfalfa and grass. Travel on the Interstate will become quite easy when the cars run out of gas. I'll remember all the gas tax that paid for the grassed center strip and shoulders.
Say Hi to the Chinese during the Olympics. I'm sure many of their family members will be doing your jobs. Eventually all that steel that should have been at the Steel mills on the south side will come back as bullets and bombs.
There's an election coming in a short while. Don't forget to vote. And vote often.

I will walk and drive to work and play. Then I will remember who was in charge during this fiasco and work as hard as I can to throw the bums out come next election day.

What I'm going to do is to go out of my way to take METRA and do some extra cab rides, as well. I don't think I should give CTA my business if all they're going to do is cut the (already pretty poor) services they offer. I'll certainly come back if and when they clean their act (and their trains and their buses) up, put customer safety first, and maybe even train their personnel in polite, knowledgeable customer other words, when the service is worth the price.

People in Minnesota went through this and it was not pretty.

this site has lots of transit information in case you move to a transit friendly city.

OOPS, I misspelled your name: It is Tajiri not Tajari!

Vital services, such as grocers, pharmacies, and my doctor's office, are within walking distance from where I live, so the fare increase and service cuts will impact me only if I HAVE TO travel longer distances.

Posted by: Jackie L. Tajiri | September 4, 2007 10:58 AM

Please Ms Tajiri, DO NOT take this as a personal attack! I am using your statement as a sounding board for the same issues, but in different communities.

The places you mentioned are not close to where I live. Majority of the time, if I do not pick up items while I am in another part of the city while on my journeys back and forth, I will not be able to purchased them unless going back out using CTA at a great time inconvenience. I cannot walk three or four blocks to a pharmacy, grocery store (not a damn corner store), or to the doctor's office. I NEED CTA/mass transportation to go back and forth doing my daily trips. Realistically, I cannot walk to my church I attend every Sunday - and be on time! - my church is seventeen blocks from my house. It is not a long way, but try walking in the winter time.

I walk a block and a half to the CTA Bus Stop in the morning. I walk three blocks in the evening because the return trip is faster (75% of the time) using a different route. I could care less about the Olympics! The elderly people in my community struggle daily to get where they are going, and do not have neighborhood grocery stores or other entities nearby to walk to.

Other individuals have complaints and I laugh at them because if you are not living in a urban desert, you have it made. As a youth growing up, when my parents bought a home, there were three(3) grocery stores within relative easy walking distance. Over the years each closed! Each remained a useless sheltered building for years (at least one stayed closed for a decade). When finally re-opened, one became a RENT-A-CENTER, the other a AutoParts store and the last simply torn down and bricks hauled away. Nothing sits there as of this present moment. I refuse to believe it had to do with theft at each store! There is another building which was a company (I will not named) that left a beautiful structure, which initially I thought had went out of business. No, it moved to the suburbs and took the jobs with it. (no sense in elaborating - we all know why). It took two decades to reopen as another facility, but it does not have a pharmacy, gocery store or a doctor's or clinic office.

Please understand when you leave people in dire situations they will act out in a desperate manner. Do not think this is a woe is me or cry me a river tune. Let it happen to your community and watch how people will respond.

Thank you Ms Tajari for letting me use your statement to expound on the rest of Chicago's citizens.

Vital services, such as grocers, pharmacies, and my doctor's office, are within walking distance from where I live, so the fare increase and service cuts will impact me only if I HAVE TO travel longer distances.

Unless changes are made in the way the CTA is funded, Mayor Daley can kiss his beloved Olympics goodbye because these problems would affect, not only the city's regular commuters, but atheletes and spectators visiting from around the world!

Hopefully our state and city aren't stupid enough to let this happen. If they do though, I'll continue to take trains and buses and walk, but if service is less frequent, I probably won't go out to other neighborhoods as often. Much like other people, I won't spend as much money going out and the state won't collect as much tax revenue from me, and our economy will suffer for it. Also like many other people, I'd be forced to seriously consider leaving Chicago for a city that understands the importance of transit and knows how to keep it running.

I'm intending to only walk. Waiting for buses and then having to stand like a sardine is not worth more money to me. Let someone else subsidize the CTA.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Monifa Thomas published on September 3, 2007 10:22 AM.

Tuesday's transit rally was the previous entry in this blog.

Transit funding bill fails in the House is the next entry in this blog.

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