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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Do suburbanites care about the CTA funding crisis?

More accurately, do suburbanites care about the RTA funding crisis, as this fiasco encompasses more than just the Chicago Transit Authority. Judging from blog posts and news commentary, some suburbanites do care about the transit funding situation. Their views sometimes vary – from those of Chicagoans, and from those of other suburbanites – on how it should be resolved.

A Chicagoan thoughtfully explores the funding issue, the CTA’s relationship with Momma RTA, and why suburbanites should care about transit funding.

Here’s McHenry County Blog’s take on the funding foibles as they relate to McHenry County, Lake County’s neighbor to the west.

Suburban legislators voted their opposition to the latest funding bill.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Metra’s Union Pacific North line’s new Sunrise Express has beat ridership expectations. Trains leave from and arrive at the Waukegan terminus at unbelievably early hours on weekdays, with the first southbound train leaving at 4:20 a.m.

“People can argue all they want about what to do about mass transit,” [state Sen. Susan] Garrett said. “But here’s a real success story.”

A Spring Grove reader sent his thoughts on the issue to the Lake County Journal.

And finally, here’s a comment sent to the Daily Herald by an Elgin commuter.

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Inside the RTA "doomsday" scenario

So, another doomsday is coming on January 20 for the RTA. Let’s say the state doesn’t intervene with money; what’s going to happen for Pace and Metra?

Metra says it will:

  • Raise fares 10% (according to “January 2008 Budget Shortfall Option A”), -or- raise fares by 5% and eliminate Sunday service (“Budget Shortfall Option B”)
  • Raise prices for weekend passes
  • Reduce janitorial positions; trains will be cleaned less frequently (great, now Metra will be as dirty as the El)
  • Eliminate 100 jobs
  • Enact additional 10% fare increases for the next two years

Pace says it will:

  • Increase fares
  • Eliminate weekend service
  • Eliminate Metra feeder routes (“Shuttle Bugs”)
  • Eliminate 27 routes

Let’s see how long it will take before the state money comes through and the doomsday snooze button is pressed, but the alarm is not turned off. This is, what, Round 3? How many times must the wolf huff and puff and threaten to blow the house down before someone fortifies the structure with brick?

Scott Kleinberg writes in his blog post, “Funding crisis numbing/dulling our senses?”:

Know what it will take for there to be a superhero in Springfield? Legislators who meet, vote and actually come up with a permanent solution to the transit funding crisis. “Finding” extra money to put it off temporarily only to see another Doomsday in two months isn’t acceptable in any way.

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13 days until Doomsday…RTA Doomsday, that is

From the State of Illinois’ website:

On January 20, the CTA, Metra and Pace plan to implement dramatic service cuts, fare increases, and layoffs if no long-term funding solution is passed by the Illinois General Assembly.
Join the Governor’s fight to protect mass transit service. Send a message to your legislators today about how a transit doomsday could impact you and why a solution needs to be passed now.

You can send a message to your elected officials via the provided contact form. As with many such things, it’s likely that the funding will be supported by a tax hike – in this case, a 0.25% hike in the sales tax.

These guys have got to figure something out soon. Congestion, gas prices and population growth are squeezing the roads. Chicagoans need as many efficient transportation options as possible.

Link via CTA Tattler.

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