a bit of cta gossip

Amber, you are way, way right about the wry fondness.

Like being loyal to the office of king/queen without having to like a particular monarch, I love the CTA's spiritual and practical role in the organism that is my city without necessarily approving of the way it is run.

Starting on Sunday, the CTA enacted massive cutbacks, eliminating 9 express buses and reducing frequency of service on 119 bus and rail lines. Prompted by this, today I had a conversation with a bus driver today which underlined that. Some of his (paraphrased and condensed) opinions and observations about the CTA follow.

It would not have been necessary to reduce service so drastically if the CTA did not manage their money so poorly. Every bus garage serves approximately 20 bus lines, yet each garage also boasts about 20 managers, who pull in manager salaries without actually driving buses themselves.

(I was aghast at this, since I work at a deli with around 20 employees which is run effectvely--albeit with a great deal of stress and hard work--by one manager and two assistant managers.)

In addition to possibly excessive amounts of managers, each garge also has a complement of supervisors, who drive around in official CTA vehicles to oversee buses and ensure they are on time.

Furthermore, even though the CTA has no official connection to the utility providers of gas, electricity, and water, all of them are run by the city. This means that when a CTA employee is late on his or her utility bills, the employee's name gets written up on a board in a public place in the garage, and they are required to go and talk to their manager about the status of the utility bills for their home. If the employee does not promptly get caught up on said utility bill, they are threatened with no longer being scheduled to drive buses.

(I was outraged by this, and said that was some freaky medieval crap that had to be illegal. Why couldn't they get their union to file a class action?)

The union itself is useless, and the so-called leaders of the union are themselves Daley cronies who won't say boo to actually support the workers.

In addition, the now-deposed head of the CTA, who is responsible for the current mess, has been moved to a position of authority in the Chicago Public Schools. The replacement person isn't helping the CTA much, but the idea of someone who created the mess the driver himself had lived through in charge of kids' education was worrisome to him.

(I agreed with this. Alas, at this point I'd reached my stop.)

So there's some stuff there that I really ought to fact check. Other stuff is more difficult to check. Still, it's a sweet but of gossip that wrinkles my lobes and makes me feel more informed. Even if I'm not.


Amber E said...

!!???? Far be it from me to wish downsizing but can't a manager manager more than one bus line? Perhaps privatization could be considered....that would also address the issue of the utility bills. One wonders how the drivers would pay the utility bills if not assigned routes. It would be also awful, but more logical if they docked a percentage of each pay check until the utility bill was paid...I don't advocate that but at least it would make sense in an evil way.
:sigh: Well thank goodness there are still enough buses for you to get to work at least for now.