Today’s Headlines

  • RTA Plans to Spend $5 Million to Promote Transit Ridership (Sun-Times)
  • Active Trans Asks Members to Oppose Evanston Bike Bans
  • Bill Would Allow Chronic Drunk Drivers to Get Their Licenses Back (Tribune)
  • Lawyer in Class-Action Suit Argues Red-Light Cams Are Illegal (DNA)
  • Records Show A Second ‘L’ Operator Dozed at the Controls (Sun-Times)
  • Driver Seriously Injures 12-Year-Old Boy on Bike in Aurora (CBS)
  • Unlike Rahm, Toni Says Her Security Detail’s Speeding Tickets Get Paid (Tribune)
  • Residents Complain of Traffic Headaches Near Uptown School (DNA)
  • Chicago Gets Relatively Low Ranking for Bike Friendliness From NerdWallet (RedEye)

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  • 2Fast2Furious

    Wow an ad campaign from the RTA when Metra can’t even effectively communicate with their own customers about delays.

  • JacobEPeters

    The DUI redemption bill is actually pretty strict, but I am still concerned that there may be workarounds regarding some of the provisions. It’s promising that one of the anti-drunk driving groups is in favor, but MADD is still against it, so it sounds like it has some room for improvement.

  • CL

    It sounds okay to me — they have to wait for several years, complete rehab, get tested for three years, and get a breath testing device for their cars. It sounds like the bill provides incentives for former alcoholics to do things that we should all want them to do (rehab, testing), so that they can be legal drivers one day.

    We read about deadly crashes involving drivers who already lost their licenses all the time. Not having that little card doesn’t stop people from getting behind the wheel — so much of IL is car-dependent that they don’t have much choice if they need to get around. I think this could actually reduce crashes by encouraging people to stay sober, since people would prefer to be legal.

  • JacobEPeters

    Since it essentially creates a 5 year license revocation for people willing to reform their lives, I think it would be open the door for further clamping down on the number of repeat convictions it takes for your license to be taken away. Which really could put the fear of god into people at an earlier point, reducing DUI related fatalities and putting a dent in the cultural acceptance of buzzed driving, since such a risk could lead to major long term repercussions for the offender.

    Sometimes you have to add a opportunity for very limited redemption, in order to justify an implementation of a much stricter law down the line.

  • Anne A

    Does it make ANY sense for RTA to $pend $5M on advertising when that money would be much more effectively spent on improving quality and reliability of service (including communication about service)? Seems like a stupid waste to me.

  • cjlane

    “Toni Says Her Security Detail’s Speeding Tickets Get Paid”

    Um, how about *somebody* actually telling their drivers to … I dunno… maybe just NOT F’ING SPEED?!?!?!!!?

    Who pays those tickets? OH, YEAH–TAXPAYERS. Morons.

  • Fred

    I would like to see this instituted for repeat offenders, not 4x offenders. I’m for second chances, but 5th chances are a bit of a stretch.

  • Fred

    Improving quality and reliability requires money. Money comes from increased ridership. Advertising increases ridership.

  • “Actually, I think we’ve paid our tickets,” Preckwinkle said when asked
    about the report on her security detail. “I have not non-suited our
    tickets, which other folks have done. So I’m not condoning speeding, but
    I’ve gotten the occasional speeding ticket, and I pay mine, and so does
    our detail.”

  • cjlane

    Which elides both of my points: She should tell “our detail” to stop speeding, and “our detail” should come out of pocket when they do so (which you know they do not, John–it’s a violation of the union contract).

  • JacobEPeters

    exactly, if there is a protocol for someone to regain their license after truly having reformed, then we can make it so that the trigger for permanently losing your license is after 2 offenses, not 4.

  • cjlane

    Kevin M:

    So, you believe that Toni’s security detail personally pays their tickets, and that Toni simply chose to not make a specific point of that? It’s WAY too juicy of a point to make (if true) for someone as smart and savvy as Toni to not make.

    This would be pure gold: “In the rare circumstances where our detail has received a ticket, the driver paid the fine out of his own pocket.” What politician can pass up something that juicy.

    I know that the CTA busdriver contract makes CTA pay for any camera tickets. I am nearly certain that the CPD contract is similar, for anyone on-duty (which would cover all of Rahm’s detail, btw). If Toni’s detail (2 ex-CPD, btw) do have to reach into their own pockets, then great, and I’d love to know that. Were it true, I’d mention it, were I Toni.

  • Anne A

    Given the way that CTA and Metra have alienated so many riders with service cuts, delays, communication problems and sometimes questionable reliability, do you really believe that those people will be suckered back by advertising? At the very least, improving Metra communication would be a better use of that money – something that would be a small improvement in quality of service.

  • cjlane

    ” Money comes from increased ridership.”

    Unclear. Political will comes from greater % of constituents using transit.

    What % increase in ridership would there have to be for the farebox to cover 100% of operating expenses + depreciation of equipment (ie, *not* capital improvements, but expected replacement of rolling stock). Could that % increase in ridership be handled by existing equipment (without relying on fantasies of time shifting transit use)?

    I think that the answers to that are: a 100%+ increase in ridership, and No, we’d need a lot more capacity to handle 2x the ridership, but someone please correct me.

  • duppie

    Here is a question somewhat related to the lack of communication from Metra. The Metra has an online train tracker, but the interface lacks basic functionality, like storing favorites.
    Question: Does anyone know if Metra has an API on their train data, and if any 3rd party apps take advantage of that? Ideally one that also does CTA arrival times in the same app?

  • Fred

    Public (subsidized) transit does not have the goal of the farebox covering 100% of costs. I’d bet Metra could support a 10% increase in ridership with minimal additional cost. That is the real goal. 100% crushload capacity on every train.

  • Fred

    Advertising is for new ridership accrual, not rider retention or alienated rider re-acquisition. There have to be some people who could be commuting by Metra that for some reason never considered it. Those are the targets.

  • cjlane

    Yes, I understand that, and also that the marginal cost of an additional rider is close to zero. But $5m is about 1m rides (or, put another way, 2500 people switching to daily round trip use) to just to break even. It’s not really about increasing revenue, it’s about increasing political clout. Thus, query whether spending $5m on lobbyists and campaign donations would be better allocaiton.

  • Anne A

    And how many of them become alienated riders if service does not improve?