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Tuesday, March 5

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Andrew Huff / February 11, 2010 11:35 AM

Suggested by Jasmine. If you've got a good question for Fuel, send it to

I waited about 20 minutes longer than usual for a Brown Line at Belmont on Tuesday night. Haven't had to try for a bus yet, but my neighborhood (West Rogers Park) is apparently one of those worst hit by the cutbacks, so I'm sure it'll suck when I do.

Baldeesh / February 11, 2010 12:04 PM

I have to leave my house at about 7:50 in order to get to work on time. I used to be able to leave at 8:10. I take the 56 to the 77.

Then this morning I had a bus driver tell me that I am not supposed to get on another bus right away when I'm transferring - I'm supposed to wait 15-20 minutes before I get on to a bus.

If that's a new rule in relation to these service cuts, it's the first I've heard of it.

Andrew Huff / February 11, 2010 12:29 PM

@Baldeesh: You're supposed to wait 15 minutes? Why would anyone do that? It's transportation, not a swimming pool after you ate a big meal, forgodsake.

Baldeesh / February 11, 2010 12:34 PM

@Andrew Huff: She was difficult to deal with. When I asked why I haven't encountered this issue before, she said, "Read your damn paperwork."

I called the CTA and complained. They also said there's no such rule.

Carly / February 11, 2010 12:43 PM

Yesterday I ended up taking the Clark street bus south instead of Damen. It didn't really affect my time too badly. However, today the bus tracker is temporarily unavailable, which is kind of throwing a wrench in things. I have no idea what time I should leave the house. Also, would it have killed them to be a little more specific about what "less frequency" means? There's a big difference between five minutes and fifteen. Also, not to sound racially paranoid, but I've had more white bus drivers this week alone than the many years I've taken the bus. What's up with that?

r / February 11, 2010 12:44 PM

@Baldeesh Some CTA employees are dumber than a box of rocks. Did you get her employee # down? You should report her.

My commute so far hasn't been too different. I sense that they've cut every other bus departure on my most used line. But it's not as if CTA has disappeared entirely.

Christopher / February 11, 2010 12:48 PM

I've definitely noticed a hasty uptick in operations on the el. My commute which involves the red and brown lines has been extremely quick this week with almost no delays. It almost seems like service has improved because of the compensation for cutbacks.

Dan / February 11, 2010 12:54 PM

The CTA cutbacks have had no effect on my commute as I don't use the CTA. I have the good fortune of riding a non-public bus system which has not had any cutbacks, instead featuring service increases, being on time and being free of stinky hobos. That said, if it wasn't for this option I'd probably be riding the CTA bus.

As far as the effect on others in my hood goes, it does appear that the CTA is running shorter and more packed busses now.

It really is too bad the CTA is always in a funding crisis and isn't a more high class pubtrans system. We always want something, but usually don't want to pay for it.

kate / February 11, 2010 1:46 PM

Halsted bus north from Pilsen? Inconsistent as always.

I wait 2-18 minutes every morning. Bus Tracker is of no use.

Monica / February 11, 2010 2:14 PM

My commute from Hyde Park to Lincoln Park (Garfield Bus, then the red line) only took 30 minutes today, while it normally takes an hour. But I had to wait 20 minutes for the Garfield bus to arrive at my stop.

annie / February 11, 2010 3:06 PM

I have noticed a difference on the way home, but I leave very early in the mornings to get to my gym. I have noticed more people on the bus in the early hours, I think they are being proactive and hoping to not be effected by the cut backs. I don't know if it will last. I only live 3.5 miles from work and I have walked home two nights now to avoid overcrowded buses, it's a great way to end the work day actually.

YAJ / February 11, 2010 3:09 PM

I took two different L lines and 3 buses yesterday, traveling from Logan Square, downtown, to Hyde Park then Boy's Town. I was surprised it went pretty much the same as ever.

charlie / February 11, 2010 3:56 PM

I work @ home.

Mike / February 11, 2010 4:50 PM

A previous comment made me curious so I went to the CTA site and see that service was reduced on the #50 Damen. This underutilized bus that connects Wicker Park, Roscoe Village, West Lakeview, Lincoln Square and Edgewater just went from "unreliable" to "pathetic joke." Soon they'll be able to justify eliminating it entirely. I'm reminded of the geniuses who at one point wanted to shutter the Brown Line in 1979 due to poor ridership. Keep burning the village to save it!

LaShawn Williams / February 11, 2010 8:00 PM

I made the switch to Metra on Feb. 1, so I haven't really experienced the sting of the cutbacks. Actually though, my switch wasn't due to the cutbacks--it was because I had simply had enough of all the "Clarence Ervin"-isms I had to deal with on a daily basis. :-/

Kevin / February 12, 2010 10:15 AM

It isn't messing me up too much, but I am checking the bus tracker before deciding on the 65 or 66. The buses seem to be running with the same regularity, but are much more packed.

Etihad Eidos / February 12, 2010 10:47 AM

The people who are affected the most by these changes will not comment here because they are too poor to own a computer. Because they do not own a computer, they cannot find schedules on the CTA website either.

Carlotta / February 12, 2010 11:27 AM

I travel off-peak. Nonetheless, buses are quite often crowded.

There's more of a tendency for buses to be clumped together, as the time that it takes for everyone to jam into a bus enables the next bus to catch up with it. Ironically, this leads to some buses being nearly empty.

I haven't been on a bus where someone with a wheelchair or stroller has tried to get on, but I'm not looking forward to it. And the routes surrounding Wrigley Field are going to be absolute hell once baseball season begins.

I second the comments above about bustracker unavailability.

flange / February 12, 2010 11:31 AM

baldeesh, i believe if you use one of the chicago cards you may find that using it twice within 15 minutes is counted as a "passback," the assumption that the second time it's used to pay another person's full fare. that's been a feature, not a bug, for many years.

i'm on the 30-day plan and have found that occasionally, when i've used it twice in 15 minutes, it kicked me down to the pay-per-use plan because it assumed the passback. keep an eye on your account and, if this happens, just politely email customer service to let them know that you're transferring within that time frame. i've gotten a quick fix and apology in the past.

to answer the actual question, the 147 bus has been promoted from the second ring of hell to the third. nothing major.

paul / February 12, 2010 11:36 AM

I've been almost exclusively on Metra for awhile and have seen an obvious increase in ridership this week on the off-peak trains I ride, but might just be because of the snow.

I do have the choice to take the Red Line back and forth to Evanston, but after the last time, on a January evening when I stood on 3 platforms for a total of an hour and a half, I vowed never to ride CTA again unless absolutely necessary.

matt / February 13, 2010 11:18 AM

Not yet, the advantage of living 5 minutes from the office.

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