Today’s Headlines for Tuesday, December 15

  • Active Trans Urges City to Add Prepaid Boarding to Loop Link, Seeks BRT Outreach Volunteers
  • City’s Law Department Files New Charges Against RedFlex (DNA)
  • Man Fatally Struck While Trying to Run Across At-Grade Brown Line Crossing at Kedzie (Tribune)
  • 3 Injured After After Drivers Crash and Car Goes Through Skokie Storefront (Sun-Times)
  • Crowdfunding Campaign Launched for Cyclist Injured by Hit-and-Run Driver (Chainlink)
  • Workday Closures on Wilson This Week to Build Canopy for Station Construction (DNA)
  • Michele Smith Moves to Ban Food Carts From Just About All Lincoln Park Business Strips (DNA)
  • In the Wake of SSA Snafu, Director of Jeff Park Chamber of Commerce Steps Down (DNA)
  • Skokie Sues to Aquire Cemetery Land for Bike Trail Along Old Orchard Road (Tribune)
  • Why Isn’t There Ferry Service From Chicago to Michigan, and Could There Be Again? (WBEZ)
  • Feast Your Eyes on the Sexy Cabbies in This Pin-Up Calendar (DNA)

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  • I’m not sure how anyone could make offboard payment work reliably without an actual secured station, with walls, and limited access. I don’t think that’s likely to happen downtown, period — which means either there would have to be a permanently-mounted kiosk that gives paper receipts, or it would only work for people who have smartphones with a data plan, or …. I don’t know.

    Making fares free if you enter at Loop Link stations would really be ideal, but the sorts of people who insist transit should pay for itself with farebox recovery would have an aneurism if it were even suggested.

  • johnaustingreenfield

    NYC Select-style kiosks that issue proof of payment slips wouldn’t work for Loop Link because bus lines that pick up passengers in all corners of the city will be using the corridor. It really is a tough nut to crack, which is probably why the Chicago pre-paid boarding pilot was delayed. But maybe the city will surprise us with a good solution.

  • Chicagoan

    Yeah, it’s a tough situation. Despite that, I’m still okay with the CTA not building station-like stops for the Loop Link. This is essentially a last-leg transit option that will likely be used in large part by Metra commuters taking the bus to get to their office in the eastern part of The Loop.

    People yelping about this not being BRT are right, but also don’t understand the system. Plus, if things go well, the CTA could always beef up this service.

  • Deni

    I don’t understand why American transit systems can’t look at European cities and go pre-pay system-wide, like in practically every country on the Continent. It works so much better and speeds everything up. Worries over increased fare cheating or security are unfounded.

  • planetshwoop

    Unless things have changed, the LA subway has this. And Metra kind of does too?

  • planetshwoop

    Pittsburgh’s solution is pretty cool. You can get on for free at any of the main stations downtown. If you only go within downtown, you don’t pay. If you leave downtown, you pay on your way out. I haven’t looked at it in detail but admired it when I used it.

  • cjlane

    What are the cities that have pre-payment for *all* city buses? I mean the ones that stop every two blocks, or less, as in Chicago. I don’t see that in the major cities (Paris, London, Berlin, etc).

    Obviously, most of them have an *option* of prepaid rides (especially for ‘concession’ fares), but the majority seem to rely on card tap *on the bus*.

    Do think it would be great to have Looplink free in the ‘circulator’ zone, but problematic to collect fare when going further.

  • Deni

    Rome does. I know that you can validate on buses in cities all over, as well as pay the bus driver, but you can still enter all doors.

  • Deni

    They were in the process of changing that, turnstiles have been installed. Not sure if it is complete yet, it’s been a while since I last rode on it.

  • cjlane

    You wrote: “like in practically every country on the Continent”

    Rome /= “practically every country”.

    And, “enter all doors” /= “pre-pay”

    And, the Roman system involves very few bus-stop located ticket sales–so the non-pass-holder, who is out of single use tickets, trying to get a bus in West Lawn, would–using the Roman pre-sale system–have to first hump it to a convenience store and *then* wait for the Pulaski bus, half the time probably just missing the bunch of 3 and then waiting 45 minutes.

    Don’t think that that helps the CTA bus system work more smoothly.

  • Deni

    A pre-pay and/or a system that allows for all door boarding (however you want to define it, I’m not in the mood to get nit picky about it, or argue) would be one of the things to lessen bus bunching, thus stopping situations where three buses go by at one then you wait 45 minutes for the next. Less dwell times would help the system run more smoothly quite a bit, actually.

  • Um. Anyone who currently boards any of those busses downtown, aiming to get to quite faraway places, will use the Loop Link stations now. So someone going to Madison and Cicero would get on the Madison bus at a “BRT” station.

  • Why would “show the driver your slip as you board, proving you paid at this kiosk, because it has a number or picture or other clearly-visible sign on the receipt” not work? It has nothing to do with where any other passengers have or haven’t gotten on.

  • johnaustingreenfield

    What you’re proposing may not be as efficient as you think. It requires the driver to actually look closely at your ticket as you board, which might not be that much faster than having people swipe a Ventra card as they board (though perhaps faster than paying with cash). And there has to be a way to ensure that tickets aren’t being reused. Having the driver punch the ticket, as on Metra, would definitely not save any time compared to the current system.

    NYC’s select lines have random ticket checks by inspectors, with a significant fine if you don’t have a ticket. That makes multiple-door boarding possible. That’s not an issue in Chicago at this point, because we don’t have buses with three doors yet. But having multi-door boarding is another timesaving feature, which wouldn’t be an option with the system you’re suggesting.

  • Good graphic design can be glanceable.

    A big bold month icon (like a shape), a number inside it giving today’s date, one more visual indication unique to each boarding station, and the potential for fraud becomes very limited, even if the user keeps the slip.

    One 4″x5″ slip of newsprint, torn off a receipt printer, two bold sans serif numerals centered between two boldly visible symbols. No biggie.

    They could even skip the station symbol if they had different colors of paper loaded in some, with or without a stripe on one edge of the register tape.

    The driver just needs to remember what today’s combo looks like, and possibly the order of (8?) stations on their run. Nowhere near as hard as reading a standard date/time numerical splat in tiny type on a transfer.

    If you want to cancel the slips, have a box for people to stuff them in after the driver’s seen, but I don’t think that’d be all that necessary, since each is only good for one day and boarding at that location. It would take effort to get more than three people on with the same slip, and most fraudsters just aren’t that interested.

  • cjlane

    You can have all-door boarding without pre-pay, and probably have higher compliance.

    You made wildly inaccurate assertions in your first comment on this, so you don’t have a basis for being nit-picky, whether in the mood or not.