Chicago Sun-Times

December 2007 Archives

A class-action lawsuit was filed in federal court today, demanding refunds for people ticketed under the city of Chicago's hand-held cell phone ban.

As I've already pointed out in my column, Chicago Police aren't being that aggressive about enforcing the ban, but still, a $50 to $200 fine is not exactly chump change.

Attorney Blake Horwitz says motorists deserve refunds because of the city’s failure to post signs alerting them to the ban, which took effect two years ago.

What do you think?

Who's been nice to you?

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I know CTA riders aren't the friendliest bunch, what with our unspoken rule about avoiding eye contact at all costs. And Metra riders, while a bit more approachable, will still run you over without a second thought if you're standing between them and that 5:45 train back to the burbs.

But surely, this being the holiday season, someone must have done something nice for you while you were riding public transit.

Maybe it was the stranger who turned in your wallet after you left it on the train. Or the CTA customer assistant who, you know, actually assisted you without getting an attitude.

Whoever it was, share your story here. It might inspire other people to follow suit.

Well, the one-day CTA walkout that would have made for a very interesting Monday morning commute has been called off. For now, anyway.

It seems God is in the details, because the CTA's unions agreed to back down after being approached by a coalition of ministers who urged them to reconsider.

The pastors rightly argued that lawmakers in Springfield aren't the ones who would have been hurt by the walkout (since very few of them seem to take public transportation anyway). Rather, everyday people who rely on public transportation would have gotten the short end of the stick, which they still might if the transit funding stalemate isn't resolved.

Stay tuned.

Fed up with stalled negotiations in Springfield over mass transit funding, members of the CTA’s rail union plan to stage a one-day “job action” that would begin midnight Sunday, union officials said Thursday.

In today's transportation news:

- The CTA is looking into the possibility of leasing 150 new hybrid buses. The deal may not go through if the General Assembly does not approve new funding for the CTA. Still, the announcement was a bit of a head-scratcher, considering the CTA is threatening to lay off thousands of employees and cut dozens of bus routes beginning next month in order to balance its budget.

- Also, Sen. Dick Durbin wants the Department of Transportation's Inspector General to look into staffing levels and controller fatigue at Chicago-area air-traffic control facilities. Durbin's request was prompted by a recent report on runway safety, which cited the high risk of near-collisions, known as runway incursions, at U.S. airports, including O'Hare.

Tired of "doomsday"?

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I haven't been on the transportation beat all that long, but in that time, I must have used the word "doomsday" dozens of times in stories to describe the CTA's (and now Metra and Pace's) near-annual threats to cut service and raise fares if they don't get more money from the state.

Given the sorry state of affairs in Springfield lately, we in the media will probably still be writing that story months, if not years, down the line.

With that in mind, is there a better word out there than "doomsday" to describe what's going on?

Share your thoughts here.

The Trib had a live chat with CTA President Ron Huberman today. One nugget that came out of it is that the CTA may soon start enlisting riders to be part of its "secret shopper" initiative.

Since Huberman took the helm seven months ago, the CTA has been sending employees to ride the system undercover, so to speak, and report back on problems they notice along the way. These findings are then shared with managers, who would ideally make changes as needed.

Huberman said that soon, the CTA will start training riders who want to take part in the program to "be the eyes and ears of the CTA."

Makes a lot of sense, considering how passionate riders get about their commutes. But something tells me the CTA is going to get more than they bargained for...

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

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