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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Monday, February 26

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JT / September 13, 2007 7:25 AM

A guy in the Redeye yesterday actually had a good idea. Sell more ad space. Why don't all of the train cars have ads on the outside? And why do ads sit on the interior spots so long (ever notice ads for events will stay there weeks or months after they expire)?

Of course I would rather not see more advertising anywhere, but it seems like an effort that could get them a lot more money.

Doyle / September 13, 2007 8:08 AM

Phase out: el trains

Phase in: rickshaws

Justin / September 13, 2007 8:21 AM


Mikey / September 13, 2007 8:23 AM

Designate one car on each of the trains a "gambling" car--dice, blackjack, roulette, slots, Vegas-style waitress, the whole shebang...

JohnnyQ / September 13, 2007 8:24 AM

The ill-fated Hired Truck scheme was uncovered, but how about a lucrative Hired Train contract for those in-the-know?

JohnnyQ2 / September 13, 2007 8:26 AM

Replace all human bus/train drivers with cyborg JohnnyCabs (Total Recall).

mike-ts / September 13, 2007 8:28 AM

CTA-aid - Have a bunch of Chicago bands put on a concert to save the CTA. If they could also get the band Chicago, whose original recording name was the Chicago Transit Authority, that would be great.

Or, considering all of those aluminum poles in the cars - Stripper Car! $15 to enter the car at the end of the train.

Emerson Dameron / September 13, 2007 8:31 AM

Uhhh... Ask for more money from the city? Wasn't St. Richie's contribution capped years ago? And never adjusted for inflation? I think if we all send pictures of rush hour overcrowding to the Olympics Committee, things will change immediately.

I'm also stumping for the Fun Line, a rollercoaster running express from Elk Grove Village to Navy Pier and charging $100 a ride. It'll be like really good acid, except with more screaming kids.

editorkid / September 13, 2007 8:49 AM

Who doesn't love a bake sale?

CTA Rider / September 13, 2007 9:02 AM

Burn it down and start again.

(If the CTA and Springfield aren't going to take public transit in Chicago seriously, why should anyone else?)

annoyed / September 13, 2007 9:06 AM

Maybe they could have ALL of their employees do some actual work. Does there really need to be a guy sweeping up cigarette butts on an outdoor platform?
No offence to his sweeping abilities, but I wouldn't notice them if a train would show up and take me to work!

Brian / September 13, 2007 9:07 AM

Who doesn't love a bake sale?

$100 Million budget hole? That's a lot of baking.


Do you know what the cover charge would have to be? Ouch.

That said, I could see the last car being the stripper car and the 2nd to last car being the gambling car. And we'll get the palleta guys to go car to car with their carts. And I'm all for more ad space. Get every seat sponsored! The floor is some wasted space, too! Every car should have an ad-wrap outside it, too.

It still might fall short of $100 million, but it'd be damn closer to it than we are now.

John / September 13, 2007 9:11 AM

The easiest thing to do is to eliminate the Purple Line Express. The trains are always half full anyway. It's a convenience express train that is not necessary in these difficult budget times.They can easily fill the gap with the Red line. The CTA proposed to eliminate express buses They should do the same with the purple line.

mbwa kahawa / September 13, 2007 9:11 AM

I agree with CTA rider above.

I'm done with you CTA.

You deserve to be shut down.

I'll get up at 4 am and walk.

Brian / September 13, 2007 9:13 AM

Another thought: Sponsored stops. Think radio-style ads:

"This is Grand and State. Brought to you by the all new Cadillac Escalade. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit. Cadillac."


"This is Addison. Brought to you by WGN, Chicago's CW. Get your news early on WGN News at Nine."

Pedro / September 13, 2007 9:15 AM

Take a lesson from the London underground - shut down the el lines after 11PM and start them up at 5AM. That would probably take 15% of empty capacity offline.

Oh yeah, and hire someone who has the type of logistics expertise that this problem requires!

editorkid / September 13, 2007 9:16 AM

The Blue Line Slow Zone Repair Project 10K Marathon, from Schurz High School at Addison & Milwaukee to the south end of Milwaukee at Desplaines and Kinzie. (This actually is 10km.)

The CTA gets the money only if the Blue Line train that leaves Addison at the same time as the runners gets to Grand & Halsted, the nearest stop to the end, before the runners.

charlie / September 13, 2007 9:22 AM

Raise the price of gasoline to $8.50 a gallon.

JAH / September 13, 2007 9:39 AM

Take off and nuke the site from orbit; it's the only way to be sure.

Andrew / September 13, 2007 9:48 AM

I'm with Brian on the sponsored stops. The Library and Van Buren stops would be perfect for Dunkin Donuts -- they've already got the right colors: orange, pink and brown!

Neal / September 13, 2007 9:52 AM

Before there are any more calls for additional ad space, one thing should be clarified: CTA is NOT in control of that. They have a contract with an ad agency (Viacom, I think?), who handles all of the advertising contracts that the CTA receives. Thus, the CTA is at the mercy of this ad agency to fill up their train cars with new ads.

spence / September 13, 2007 9:53 AM

There should be a city and/or state tax on the size of your car. If you own a SUV over XXXX pounds you pay more for your plates and annual sticker than a compact car. You could have exceptions for families (receive a $X deduction for every dependent). Raise the price of city stickers by $25, with proceeds going to transit. Tax cars coming into the city like London does and raise highway tolls. Raise parking fines with proceeds going towards public transit.

paul / September 13, 2007 10:42 AM


Allow solicitation again, but shake them down for a cut.

Charge riders by the mile (or maybe by the minute, I'd be paying a grand a week).

Line the cars with lead, install proprietary phone cells, and charge up the ying-yang for onboard 'roaming' fees. At 50 cents a minute, we'll reach 100 million in a week. Hell, enforce the cell phone in automobile ban and we'll reach the goal in a week.

I don't know what purple line you're riding, but they're stuffed. Maybe you're talking about north bound morning or south bound evening. If we figure out a way to get the trains back up (or down) where people need them we'd all be rich.

Mind you I don't ride much during peak anymore, it's too crowded (nobody rides it anymore, you can't get in the full cars).

I'm sure elimination of a few trains and buses a day wouldn't hurt. Every ten minutes instead of every 12 minutes instead of every 10. You wait for a half hour for each 10 minute train anyway.

And what's with the roving troops of CTA inspectors/managers/whatever they are? Why do we need five guys in suits with walkie talkies riding around or standing around on platforms counting trains? I also love it during delays when people ask these guys what the delay is and they say they dont' know. Fire them all and atuomate the monitoring.

So I'm all for massive layoffs and schedule cuts - but run 15 cars trains (back end cars would be express), double decker buses and run them on a sparse but tight schedule off peak, like metra.

skafiend / September 13, 2007 10:55 AM

A new SUPER state Lottery, with the proceeds going to save the CTA. Hey, it worked for education, didn't it? .... didn't it?

Use sleeping bums for ad space. Since there are so many of tem and they move around so much from train to train, more bang for the buck.

No more slowing down at train stations wasting time waiting for passengers. Just open the door and slow down enough for them to jump on.

Rooftop train and bus seating. More passengers means more money. (on above-ground trains and buses only).

Eliminte special handicapped mini-buses from fleet. Hey, most of them are already on wheels. Fuck 'em.

Pedal-powered trains and buses. Riders get much needed exercise, CTA saves on gas money.

charlie / September 13, 2007 11:04 AM

skafiend: You are too fucking funny man! I think my cereal just came out my nose.

Another thing we could do is sell people (really rich people) their own private cars. It works for US cellular and Soldier Field etc.

$80,000 a pop. Of course your idea of roving bums advertising will be less effective.

You could then sell the other seats to the highest bidders or other white people of your choosing ;-)

Nuke LaLoosh / September 13, 2007 11:15 AM

I am definitely not in favor of this, but the CTA currently does not sell ad space advertising the sale of beer, liquor, or tobacco.

Ad revenue from these businesses could be enormous, but I don't think it is a good idea to have such things promoted so heavily on cars with a captive audience of kids on their way to school. But the ad revenue could be enormous.

To be crystal clear, I AM AGAINST THIS. I am simply bringing this up for discussion, not as a vote for the proposal.

Miguel de Valle / September 13, 2007 11:30 AM


The city already charges a 20% surcharge on "large" passenger vehicles, like SUVs and S-Class Benzes. (The city sticker fee is $90 instead of "only" $75.)

The fee ought to be much larger....

PHP eBook / September 13, 2007 11:40 AM

How about firing the 4 employees that are currently standing around the garbage can, chatting it up at the Clark / Lake station? I bet they each make at LEAST $25k/year - there's an extra $100,000 right there.

pup / September 13, 2007 12:05 PM

I say everyone start walking or riding their bikes to work - even carpooling if you must. Silent protest. They'll freak out cause they're losing money and we all know, money talks.

If we do something that embarrasses Dailey, like put up huge signs all over downtown and it makes the papers, or as someone brilliantly suggested, let the Olympic committee see this mess, we can get some action.

or we could egg all the CTA busses. That'll show them!

Carrie / September 13, 2007 12:06 PM

big dogs give up their bonus

PHP eBook, I totally agree. I see too many people standing around doing absolutely nothing. Jackson stop is littered with them.

find someone who understands numbers and have them do the books.

Selling more ad space is a great idea. Maybe they should fire the ad agency. Clearly money is being wasted on an agency that is doing diddlysquat for them.

I'm not in favor of stopping the trains at 11pm and starting at 5am... lots of people take the trains/busses at night. The Western bus is frequently filled with people at 11pm. I've noticed a lot are Target workers and theater workers, they have to get home, too. Me, I'm usually just leaving the bar.

this is it for now. i'm sure a brilliant idea will strike me soon. Oh! maybe they could auction off all of the angry emails they get from people for charity. you know, do like a comedy night charity kind of thing and have people read the letters/emails and then people buy them to look at and laugh at later.

k / September 13, 2007 12:38 PM

In DC they charge by how long the ride is - you swipe your card on the way in and the way out. I don't know if this makes more money but I've definitely used my bike over public transportation because I thought the ride didn't justify the $4 round trip. Not that I want to discourage anyone from riding their bike but that train runs whether I'm on it or not.

And get rid of those disgusting cloth seats. I don't think that's going to save anything, just griping because they're nasty.

Mike / September 13, 2007 12:47 PM

I'm not sure how the CTA's operating budget is divided. However, they large part of any organization's budget is people. Laying someone off isn't always the best solution and certainly not the most socially responsible. However they could look into outsourcing services such as station and equipment cleaning and equipment maintenance. A private company would be much cheaper than the unionized CTA employees. Look at the city, they are outsourcing left and right. I do have my doubts about the efficiency and productivity of such a measure though....Especially since it would probably end up w/some politically connected company, ugh.

We could consider raising parking meter rates, as well as higher taxes on parking garages downtown...This would drive more people towards transit and infuse money into the system. We could also add onto the taxi-cab taxes.

A/C uses a lot of energy, I remember when I was a kid, buses had big windows that opened...they were fun. I doubt people want to sit on a hot bus though....

Have other mobile phone companies pay to build transmitters in the tunnels.

Really there's not an easy way out. The reality is that public transportation is not a priority here. If lawmakers were not prepared to accept a 0.25% sales tax increase, I don't really know what on earth they would accept?

kate / September 13, 2007 12:49 PM

Join the International Olympic panel thing that picks cities, pick Chicago and then somehow magically transform our shitty public trans system into something the world can admire.


What to do for the 9 years that will take to happen? I don't know, hang out in Milwaukee for a few before hitting up Denver or Tulsa?

Jil / September 13, 2007 1:30 PM


I don't know what you've seen, but I've seen many a Miller bottle, Svenska robot, and Tony Sinclair for Tanqueray ads at the bus stops. Do they not allow these ads inside the vehicles? If so, that's pretty bass-ackwards're stuck at the bus stop long enough to be horribly influenced by alcohol ads.

Andrew / September 13, 2007 1:34 PM

Pup, your silent protest idea only exacerbates the problem -- depriving the CTA of income does nothing to improve its situation, and wouldn't have any effect on the politicians who hold the purse-strings.

k / September 13, 2007 2:06 PM

the purple line trains are packed when i'm on them (i go north in the morning, south in the evening). to cut the entire line is ridiculous. the riders of that train are not the rich, snobby suburbanites people think they are. we are actually just working class people trying to get to our job in a reasonable amount of time.

if i had to take the red line from fullerton to evanston, that's at least an 1 1/2 hour commute with all the "slow zones". no thanks.

i'm all for DC's-pay-for-however-far-you-go scenario, it's fair to everyone.

charlie / September 13, 2007 2:40 PM

Bar Car.....

p / September 13, 2007 3:43 PM

minneapolis and amsterdam light-rail systems both had the DC system of paying by the duration of your trip the times I've been there and i'm pretty sure i paid the minimum. this quick assessment of the system tells me it would generate less, not more revenue. Works fine for metra- where the cars are more stringently policed by ticket-takers- but no go for CTA (unless you hire more employees to check cards on trains).

I like the idea of banning automobile traffic within the loop without an Extremely exprensive Thru-Pass which would only be purchased by delivery services and vendors. Also the dumbos. Everyone else would pretty much be forced into public transit. London does it and I've never been there so naturally I'll assume it works. This would help alot of things but wouldn't get CTA any fast money very soon and has very little to do with the immediate budget issues so you got me bro...also- Free Tibet and also the West Memphis Three. Thanks.

Judy / September 13, 2007 3:53 PM

* * a u d i t * *

seriously, I'd like to see an actual breakdown of where all the money goes that the CTA takes in.

(that goes double for the toll ways)

editorkid / September 13, 2007 4:20 PM

Observers on CTA-related sites have pointed out that distance-based fares are regressive and counterproductive.

Unfortunately, Huberman supports the idea, but fortunately he acknowledges that it can't be implemented in any short term.

skafiend / September 13, 2007 4:29 PM

Amen to Judy....

and while we're at it. Why the hell does the CTA advertise? Unless it's some issue of necessary agency-related news (fare increase, line shutdown), stop wasting money on TV commercials and that stupid CAN-TV show. We know you exist, CTA. You have no competition (in the public transportation realm, that is). Stop buying ad space in newspaper or TV commerical spots.

Oh, and how much do those guard dogs eat? ... cut their food budget in half.

FYI... If anyone is interested, the CTA has downloadable PDFs of their budgets, etc.

Sorry, I don't know how to make links.

Nick / September 13, 2007 4:46 PM

Privatize the CTA!

editorkid / September 13, 2007 4:46 PM

With ya on the advertising, skafiend. As for the dogs, they're unnecessary. Take 'em out of the (in some cases allegedly abusive) guards' hands and give them normal lives. Have any of those morning "security sweeps" ever actually accomplished anything?

And for anyone who thinks the CTA isn't efficient, you probably didn't notice how quickly those red "call your state reps" ad cards went up (on rail and on bus stop sign poles) after the funding vote failed or how quickly they came down once G-Rod's deal was announced. I'd love to know how they did that.

Judy / September 13, 2007 4:48 PM

it's always a case of "follow the money"

I'm far from being a number cruncher, but on a cursory look at one of the documents, I swear that it says that the average pay of Active Memebers is $97,747

"Number of Active Members 165
Payroll of Active Members $ 16,128,351 "

Perhaps I'm taking this too superficially, but as I said, not a number cruncher.

a / September 13, 2007 4:56 PM

Fire under-performing ad agency and hire new, super-performing ad agency. Wrap every car. Also, more ads in the tunnels between stops that appear animated to the passenger of a moving train -those are awesome.

Regarding the upholstered seats, maybe they could sell tyvek haz-mat suits to don when boarding the red line. They could be tear-away so you can perform the Superman-maneuver every time you exit the train.

Brian / September 13, 2007 4:57 PM

Actually, an audit has already been done. They just didn't deliver it to your door and have the Auditor General explain it to you personally. You have to look for these things, people!

Look under "Illinois Auditor General" for the links to download the sections of the audit. Don't forget the auditor's comments section.

carrie / September 13, 2007 5:00 PM

What do you mean take the dogs away? Don't you love seeing them looking all sad with muzzles on so they can't even yawn? I mean it's not like they're hunched over! They love their jobs!! And without their security moms and dads, why people would be sleeping on the train! I love it when they come on my train car and wake everyone up. It's even better when you're next to the sleeper they make YOU wake the random stranger sleeper up!!

(poor pups)

Judy / September 13, 2007 5:01 PM

oh and those numbers were taken from "RETIREMENT PLAN FOR BOARD MEMBERS"


a / September 13, 2007 5:01 PM

PS I think borrowing against next year's budget is absolutely the wrong move and I cannot imagine a positive outcome.

Can anyone enlighten me?

skafiend / September 13, 2007 5:15 PM


yeah, I think it's pretty simple. Take money from next years' budget and not only do they have to replaced that $27 mil hole in their budget, but the one that currently exists as well.

And as far as seats, rip 'em all out. Charge passenges a buck if they want a seat. Have them available in one of those vending racks like they have for shopping cards in some stores. they can drop them off at the end of their ride. other than that, everyone stands.

Brian / September 13, 2007 5:34 PM

$97k?? Fire the CTA board. All of them. Hire in new people for the board at the going rate of a regular CTA employee. Huberman makes $100k plus, if I'm not mistaken. Fire him. Hire someone in at average CTA rate.

Add sponsored audio ads for stops (See my post above). Fire Viacom, sell *every* bit of available space on trains and buses as ad space. Ad-wrap EVERY train and bus. Sell more cell phone companies on the antennae in the tunnels, make revenue per call made from the tunnels - forget this flat rate per year business. Couple all this with congestion charges to get into The Loop/River North/Gold Coast-The Viagra Triangle/Old Town/Lincoln Park/Wrigleyville. Put concessions in stations that don't already have them. Make a cut. Fire the security dogs. Cats are cheaper. Double parking meter and parking garage (and lot) rates in The Loop, River North, Gold Coast, Lincoln Park, and Wrigleyville. Raise SUV surcharge on city stickers.

All of these together, and we might actually come out with a surplus which would finally allow funds for building things like the red line extension to 130th, circle line and mid-city line, and more new hybrid buses!

pat / September 13, 2007 6:03 PM

Let's take a page from the firefighters, and do a calendar... Bus drivers of the CTA... Anyone?

printdude / September 13, 2007 6:18 PM

I think the CTA could eliminate a few bozos from within with ease - Just this past year one clown approved copy for signage with "Bemont" and Lake Migichan" - How much did the reprint cost the CTA? Fire that one.

And a calendar is fine, nominate Luis on the #34. but $100 million? What is that, like 10 million calendars? yikes.

New revenue sources might be $/50 surcharge for a stroller, bike, or other large-as-a-person object, $.25 for luggage carriers, and full charge for the babies, double if they begin to cry, triple if another passenger can smell the load in the diaper.

Brian / September 13, 2007 7:20 PM

full charge for the babies, double if they begin to cry, triple if another passenger can smell the load in the diaper.

Hear hear! I also propose a $25 fine whenever Trixie tries to get on a packed-full northbound red line train at rush hour at Grand with her stroller and screaming toddler brat.

ifredsayred / September 14, 2007 9:25 AM

Luxury tax on SUVs - since they're the vehicles that waste more of the highway than fuel-efficient cars, and produce more wear & tear on the roads, the City should be collecting a luxury tax on them to provide $$s for the CTA.

On the other side of the coin, though, I'd like to see CTA held up to a standard of service. Train late (more than 15min, say)? The state takes $1000 from next year's budget. Equipment failure that causes the bus to go belly up? $500/passenger left stranded. And to make sure it hurts where it should, the fines come out of directors' salaries, not the general budget.

Carrie / September 14, 2007 9:48 AM

Bomb sniffing rats anyone?

(yes, please. SO cute)

josie / September 14, 2007 9:51 AM

Corporate sponsorship of the 'L' lines. United Airlines Blue Line, UPS Brown Line, and so on.

m / September 14, 2007 10:02 AM

Contact the IOC and tell them not to let Chicago host the Olympics:

Nuke LaLoosh / September 14, 2007 10:06 AM


Yeah, unless there has been a recent (last 10 months or so) change in policy, the booze/alcohol ads aren't allowed in the train cars. That's per a guy I know in the CTA legal department. I don't disagree that it's kind of backwards, but that has been the policy, at least in the recent past.

Neal / September 14, 2007 10:52 AM

A couple of comments to those who actually aren't joking:

Ads: Firing the ad agency the CTA works with would be pointless. They get a flat rate, no matter how many advertisements are plastered all over cars. From what I've read, they get a pretty damn good market rate, so it wouldn't be worth their time to break the contract and open up more competitive bidding only to get the same rate they already have. Also, I'm fairly certain the advertisements in the subway are controlled by the city.

Dogs: Once again, the CTA is not responsible for the Securitas dogs. They have a contract with Securitas, and Securitas handles the puppies--poorly, but that has little to do with the CTA's budget.

Alcohol/Cigarette Ads: Correct me if I'm wrong, Jil, but the ads you saw for Miller Lite, Svedka, etc. were inside bus stop stalls. The vast majority of these stalls are actually owned by the city and not by the CTA. All of the stalls you see with "JC Decaux" on them are owned by the city. I doubt they have any restrictions concerning who advertises on them.

Judy and other audit fanatics:
Believe what you will about CTA's apparent mismanagement, but before you pass judgement, at least read the Auditor General's report on the RTA:
It's the fifth item in the list. You'll find that it shows the CTA's management in quite a positive light, except that he mentions how the main problem of the CTA NEEDING MORE MONEY.

It's funny reading some of these suggestions, where everyone has their own idea of what should be done--as long as it only incoveniences OTHER people. There are so many intricate, impossible, and/or expensive methods for averting the budget crisis, yet everyone fails to understand how much that 0.25% sales tax increase would have helped. I'm sure everyone here can afford an extra $0.25 on every $100 they spend, and if not, I don't understand how you're using the Internets.

On the CTA / September 14, 2007 10:53 AM

#1 - Shut down the lines after midnight and start them up at 4am.

#2- double the fares going to the airport. Swipe your card getting on ($1.75) and swipe again when you get off. This would be easy to implement. You already have to go through the turnstyles again at Ohare, so just charge them again ($3.50 total). When you are leaving the airport, it will just simply cost you $3.50 when you swipe the card. Airport employess would be exempt.

#3 - Raise fares. The current fares are pretty cheap really. And there is no reason why someone coming all the way from Skokie to downtown should pay the same as someone coming from Grand to downtown. These swirthy bastards coming in on the Blue Line from Rosemont, sitting all comfortable in their seats, while I have to wait as several jam packed trains go by that are not packed should pay more. Just like a toll road.

#4 - reconfigure the seating. I HATE the seating configuration. The seating should all be facing the will be much easier for people to get in/out of seats and more room in the middle aisle.

#5 - if these steps fail, I agree with the poster that suggested burning it down. Harsh but fair.

Other than that, it is really a lovely ride.

Jill / September 14, 2007 10:55 AM

Wow, the no booze ads on train cars is really bizarre.

CTA also needs to fix the fareboxes. That'd get some of your revenue back right there.

Finances: Every company is whining about their pension obligations, but it'd be interesting to know if CTA is paying for people who are dead. Ghost payrolling is not unusual around these parts.

And--I know this is unpopular--but they should raise the rates on the 30-day passes. It's an incredible bargain (pays for itself if you use it to go to/from work every weekday). I know there are poor people out there relying on it, but they could easily charge $90 and it would still be a bargain.

Judy / September 14, 2007 11:04 AM

On The CTA wrote that fares should be raised . . . .

When I lived in the Bay Area, your fare depended on how long the ride was. A person going one stop paid less than a person going five stops (or from Oakland into SF). Not a bad way to pay. Altho then one gets into the discussion about class and proximity....

As for the Auditor General report:
I don't doubt that their conclusion is that the CTA needs more operating funds... however, in my cynicism, I agree with Jill and the "ghost payrolling" option. This is the city of "vote early, vote often" after all. And no agency that large (and bloated) is free from graft and corruption. Puh-leeze.

skafiend / September 14, 2007 11:18 AM

Let the people drive the trains every once in a while. A hundred bucks to drive the Red Line from 95th to Howard? I might pony up at least once....

ok, stupid suggestions over. Now back to "CTA Budget Talk", already in progress...

winediva / September 14, 2007 11:21 AM

Maybe we could have 1st class and 2nd class cars like they do on european trains.

First class cars, guarantee you a seat and a complimentary coffee or cocktail. I'd pay for that certain days during rush hour. Maybe up to $10. Still cheaper than a cab.

Wendy / September 14, 2007 12:30 PM

Celebrity buskers! Who doesn't want to throw quarters at Wilco?

k / September 14, 2007 1:09 PM

Neal, it's pretty simple to see how a tax increase would help the CTA, but .25% here and there is how we got to a whopping 9% sales tax.

Judy / September 14, 2007 1:23 PM

Skafiend wrote: "Let the people drive the trains every once in a while. A hundred bucks to drive the Red Line from 95th to Howard? "

I love it! That would be so much fun. Granted, the trains prolly wouldn't last long, and the passengers would be taking their lives into their hands when boarding for the mystery driver.... I wonder how fast those things can go?

Ya'll have some great ideas. I think we should compile a "Gapers Block CTA Fundraising Suggestions" paper and send it to them.

sigh / September 14, 2007 1:36 PM

My solution? Shut the CTA down except for free shuttles going to the office of every legislator. Seriously, it's almost time to hold them down and beat the money out of them.

Also: "a whopping 9% sales tax" is still lower than most places with decent public transportation.

Public transportation can't get buy on fares alone. That's why its public.

The main reason the CTA is in such a huge hole is decades of underfunding. Constantly avoiding a solution back then has made it exponentially more expensive now. Which sucks, but either we deal with it or do without.

If the roads got the sort of funding and management the CTA has, we'd still be driving on cobblestones and half the neighborhoods would be paved in dirt.

k / September 14, 2007 2:59 PM

Sigh - which places are you thinking of that have higher sales taxes and good public transportation? It's not New York, DC or Boston. Can't think of any other major cities where I've actually taken public transportation though. I'm not saying that funding isn't needed, but our sales tax really is about as high as it gets.

pup / September 14, 2007 3:08 PM

pool our money together and start a private train/rail system. Maybe they just need some competition?

editorkid / September 14, 2007 4:14 PM

Indeed, our sales tax isn't as low as 9%. It starts at 9.75% and ranges up to 12%. It's hard to nail it down definitively, but from what I've seen, it's tied for one or two other places for highest in the nation.

Of the other regions, Massachusetts, the example I'm most familiar with, is at 5.25%. And honestly, I miss the MBTA every time I ride the CTA.

skafiend / September 14, 2007 4:40 PM

My question: why does Daley act like he has nothing to do with the CTA? His quotes from yesterday after the report on the Blue Line crash:

""Any time you have an incident and ... an investigation, you hand out the proper penalties and discipline. That's what they've done. They allowed this to be thoroughly investigated, and they're not afraid of the outcome. The outcome shows their deficiencies and they have corrected it," Daley said."

Who is "THEY"? Why does he keep saying "They"? "They've" allow the investigation and "they've" corrected it...

And this...

"Daley said he was "alarmed" by the shoddy and deceptive rail maintenance practices uncovered by the NTSB. "

He was "alarmed" at the shoddy maintenance? Doesn't he appoint the CTA chief? Doesn't that make the agency his responsiblity? WTF?

Am I missing something?

cklaus / September 14, 2007 5:26 PM

Equip THE BUSES with flash cameras in front sos the DRIVER can hit a button near the STEERING wheel when some CARMONGER decides to make a right TURN in front of IT. Make the signs that say not to do it MUCH SMALLER. The city would put up the MONEY to install the cameras/flashes and train THE DRIVERS ("if they DO it push the FUckin' butin!") and keep a quarter of the revenues on a $100 dollar ticket. The CTA would take the rest. After 2 years it would only work on tourists so then they could honk loudly at BICYCLISTS removing bikes from FRONt RACK and snap their PICTURE then the CTA could set UP a FUNNY INTERNET THING THAT COSTS MONEY TO ADVERTISERS.

Steven / September 14, 2007 9:55 PM

Rip up all the old, unused outside tracks from Chicago to Armitage and sell the scrap metal. Sell the stations (a la the Skyway toll road) to a company that can renovate and rent out the commercial spaces. Really, CTA, you could be Starbuck's landlord if you had your act together. Ditto for the advertising inside trains and buses. Why are we still looking at ads for events that happened six months ago? And sell the bus turnarounds (like the one between Broadway and Halsted) for development and just park the damn things on the street. It's really not THAT hard to come up with extra cash when you've got real estate assets lying around all over the city. Geez us!

CTA rider / September 15, 2007 3:00 PM

Might not be the answer, but how about letting go of the 3-5 workers I see at the Jackson blue line booth sitting on their asses and eating. No matter what time I'm there, it's the same people, never doing any work. You don't need that many people to run a booth no one really uses.

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