Lake County Motorist

Suburban Chicagoland commuter and motorist weblog

Track that route!

Drivers do it, thanks to traffic reports delivered by radio, text message, GPS device and desktop. Airlines do it for those anticipating a passenger. Tracking your transit and estimating arrival time is part of getting around.

Resources are growing to allow mass transit users to do the same.

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How’s that commute? Bloggers respond

Jen to price forecasters: Enough about gas prices already!

On a voyage outside of McHenry County, Cal finds that the roads are rough all over. So I’m not the only one with a household vehicle tortured by Route 31‘s treacherous pavement. I also didn’t know that the pitted valley in question is called Terra Cotta, but now I know.

The CTA Tattler shares a snippet from the lives of the Fourth Car Regulars.

Colleen is proof that your commute can get you into the movies.

And finally, Mary at the Sun-Times shares an action-filled Illinois Tollway video that demonstrates how to mount the I-Pass transponder in a vehicle window. The video’s best parts show how not to handle the I-Pass.

Reminder: It’s time to gain some daylight and lose some sleep. Don’t forget to spring forward Sunday morning.

Filed under: Commuting, , , ,

Transit "doomsday" averted, and I can prove it

While every major Chicago news outlet declared the RTA funding crisis resolved last night, I held back. My reason was simple: The deed wasn’t fully “done”.  Although the legislature passed the funding bill on Thursday, Blagojevich still had to certify the bill today for it to become law.

Some thought it was unlikely that Blago would reject the bill at this point – especially since today was the last business day until Doomsday – but I didn’t think anything was impossible. I didn’t think he’d pull the “free rides for seniors” stunt last week either.

But here it is: Confirmation of Blago’s certification of the bill on January 18, making House Bill 656 a law. Process completed, deed done, and it’s for real this time. Your Metra train, Pace shuttle bug and CTA bus will be in their usual places come Monday morning.

I do find this passage funny, especially since it isn’t true (boldface emphasis is mine):

With a long-term funding plan in place, the Chicago area transit agencies have said they will not cut services, raise fares or lay-off workers on January 20, as planned.

Last I checked, Metra is a “Chicago area transit agency.” Someone really should let them know that they said they won’t raise fares. Maybe it should be the guy who said he wouldn’t raise taxes.

And finally, this vague November 2007 statement from Metra:

If a transit-funding package comes out of Springfield in the coming weeks, the 2008 proposed Metra budget would be revised to reflect additional dollars.

If you make your statement vague enough, it will be hard for someone to say you didn’t keep your promise because it isn’t quite clear what you promised. Metra could place a unicorn in every train car and it wouldn’t be a violation of  “budget….revised to reflect additional dollars.” Just ensure there’s enough money to keep cleaning those trains, OK?

Filed under: Mass Transit, , , , , ,

Council rejects bus service because fare is "too cheap"

No, this isn’t news from Springfield and as far as I know we are still “doomed“.
I thought it would be interesting to read about transit hijinks in other parts of the world. You know, because everything that happens elsewhere can be translated and critiqued through the life and experiences of a Chicagoan [/end sarcasm].

From Singapore courtesy of SimplyJean – “PTC rejected new trial route because fare was too cheap“:

I was a little shocked that a trial bus service to serve the residents of the Yio Chu Kang estate was rejected because the fare that was proposed wasn’t high enough. . .So while the MP for the GRC lobbied for a premium service, PTC rejected the only respondent – SMRT, on the grounds that the fare of S$1.30 is too low. . .

When the proposal was submitted to the Public Transport Council (PTC) in June, it was rejected because the fare proposed ($1.30 per trip) was not appropriate for a premium bus service, usually priced between $2 to $3 per trip.

Wow. Sounds like things are done differently in Singapore. Different culture, different needs, different expectations.

Or are they?

I guess it depends on your definition of “premium service” in Chicagoland: The bus exists, the train is cleaned every now and then, and everybody is free to ride so long as Somebody Else pays for it, and they’ll pay a premium indeed!

Filed under: Mass Transit, , ,

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