Today’s Headlines for Monday, January 11

  • Blair Kamin Checks Out Loop Link Speeds, Draws Similar Conclusions as John (Tribune)
  • Jury Selection in the John Bills RedFlex Bribery Trial Starts Today (Tribune)
  • The Past, Present, and Future of the Belmont Overpass (DNA)
  • Steven’s Op-Ed in Crain’s: Replace Industrial Corridor With Walkable Development
  • Police: Driver Did Several Shots at Holiday Party Before Fatal South Barrington Crash (Tribune)
  • Cold Weather Causing Metra Delays (Tribune)
  • Chainlink Highlights Vehicles Parked in Bike Lanes, Including Police Cars, Buses (DNA)
  • Cubs Negotiating With Alderman, Businesses, Neighbors on Rules for Outdoor Plaza (Tribune)
  • How to Retrieve Lost Items From the CTA (RedEye)
  • DNA Talks to Women Bike Chicago About Their Upcoming Launch Party
  • Artist and Slow Roll Rider Marian Hayes Has Passed Away (Slow Roll Chicago)
  • Aurora Is Holding a Community Meeting on Downtown Master Plan on January 21 (CMAP)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Chicagoan

    Just commented this in a prior post regarding Loop Link, but I thought it’d have better visibility here…

    Regarding the possibility of pre-paid boarding, how would the CTA enforce it? I read that they’d install turnstiles like a train station, if the pilot goes well. Couldn’t somebody just walk around the turnstiles to get into the shelter?

  • Well, the way I see it, making sure only paid users are on the bus has a few practical implementation options:

    1. Have them prove payment to the driver as they board. No functional change from now, though might be sliiiightly faster to glance at, say, a paper receipt than wait for a Ventra to register.
    2. Make sure that only paid users can be in the waiting area. This would require closing off the stations entirely, including from the street side.
    3. Don’t check anybody at boarding, but have supervisors periodically go through the bus asking for proof of payment. Problem: anyone who boarded OUTSIDE the loop link area won’t have link-specific proof of payment. THere might be a way to blip a Ventra and see when it was last used, but that only works for people with Ventra.

    Seems a tough problem.

    Personally, I think the best and most practical solution (though nearly impossible to sell politically) would be to make boarding at loop-link stations free. Board with Ventra on most of the route, but just get ON at a Link station. No need for verification, fast all-door boarding. Might cause a revenue hit, but great improvements in ridership.

  • Bug report: the link claiming to go to lost-items-for-CTA doesn’t.

  • johnaustingreenfield

    Fixed, thanks.

  • johnaustingreenfield

    An option is having the front of the station enclosed, with doors that open when the bus arrives. This is done on other systems, like Bogota, Colombia’s TransMilenio:

  • Three Green Kashira

    +1 more! here’s david bowie riding public transportation once

  • Jeff H

    I’m all for pre-paid boarding, but I think quicker fix should be to up the reliability of the Ventra system. I have about a 50% success rate on the first tap with buses. I compare that with the former Chicago Cards which worked almost flawlessly every time. Improve that you not only improve boarding speed on the loop link, but also for every bus citywide.

  • Require boarding area payment. If the street side is open, yeah, people can cheat. But if one has to J-walk in front of lots of viewers not many are going to do it. Sure at night maybe more. And who is going to do it. A few really poor people, some number of discontented rebellious youth, a few disgruntled but psychologically damaged middle-class etc etc. Basically not enough to matter in reality. The vast majority will simply pay. Peer pressure and social conscience.

    But I get that visions of “welfare queens” will immediately arise in the political media-scape.

    So on to payment cops. Actually might not be too hard. They get on just past the station(s) and randomly ask the riders to tap their mobile reader. If it turns out you have not paid at entry, then you get dinged 10 times the normal fare (or 5 or 2 or whatever).

  • I keep getting fooled into thinking a story about the Belmont Overpass is about the Belmont Flyover. :(

  • re Industrial Corridor: A while back I had the chance to visit Barre Gotic in Barcelona. What an amazing place. Dense and ONLY walkable “streets” for several blocks around. Now that is what I would want to see there right on the river. It might need it’s own el stop there at the bends eastward of the Red and/or Brown lines.

  • BlueFairlane

    I gotta say, I think you’re onto something here.

    I honestly believe there is zero practical way to make prepaid boarding work that won’t at the very least require some large investment in labor and a significant redesign of things we just built. So eliminate the problem and tout it as the opposite of a congestion tax.

  • JKM13

    “According to CTA spokesman Brian Steele, the agency seeks to increase peak-hour bus speeds to 3.75 mph from the snail-like 3 mph that was the average before the system made its debut.”

    Whoa. Was it ever communicated before that the CTA had no intention of loop link actually improving speeds at rush hours (when dedicated lanes actually matter)?

    If Ashland/Western BRT weren’t already dead, Loop Link has truly killed it. What an embarrassment.

  • johnaustingreenfield

    I’m not sure why Steele said that, because the CTA previously said their goal was to double rush hour bus speeds, from 3 mph to 6 mph, and, judging from my recent riding experience, 6 mph, eight-minute cross-Loop rush hour trips are within reach:

    As soon as the lift the 3 mph speed limit by platforms, I’m guessing they’ll get close to 6 mph average speeds at rush hour. If pre-paid boarding implemented, that will save more time.

  • JKM13

    That’s what I thought. Seems like a pretty major case of moving the goal posts.

  • IMHO it’d be a net benefit to downtown even if the main increase in usage is from car-commuters who ride the (free for them) Loop Link from their office to an outside-the-Loop parking garage. They’d have to pay inbound fares, but still, one fare per day? That’s way less money than they’d SAVE by getting themselves in a different parking market, given the costs of CBD spots.

  • Cameron Puetz

    I think the main usage would be people who currently ride the bus and would benefit from getting one direction of their commute for free and Metra riders who currently walk instead of buying both Metra and CTA passes.

  • planetshwoop

    Worth looking in detail at Pittsburgh’s model. Their version of the Loop is free, and you pay when you exit, not when you board. I’m sure there are other downsides, but it speeds boarding at congestion points.

  • Anne A

    In the last week, I’ve taken a few CTA trips where I needed to tap my Ventra card 3-4 times per boarding to get it to scan correctly. C’mon already! This is ridiculous.

  • david vartanoff

    All door boarding! Fare collection? fare checkers. If you don’t use Ventra you must pay at the farebox.
    And about the mirrors; you realize the same issue exists at curbside stops except the buses rarely pull right up to the curb. .

  • Yeah, I was leaving out the people who already ride.

  • giovanni

    Just thought I’d chime in to say I was really angry to read that as well. Did Steele screw up? Did Kamin? Or did CTA planners really bluff this through? That really, really needs clarification. My personal impression, somewhat like my impression of the last CTA spox statement, about “policy” dictating 1-3 mph in-station, is that the spokesperson doesn’t know what he’s talking about. My experience is that buses are moving significantly faster than walking pace at rush hour, and my walking pace is fairly fast, so possibly 3-3.5 mph. Buses that I’m even with at Canal are usually way in front of me by LaSalle.

  • FG

    Seattle used to do something like that too (maybe still does). Logan in Boston (or at least the airlines) made the Gold Line free from the airport to downtown…