Sunday, December 9, 2012

Last Week For Three Uptown CTA Routes

Back in September, when UU posted a "Call To Action" to readers about contacting the CTA to protest eliminating two Uptown bus routes and rerouting a third, this day seemed very far away.

But, sadly, it's come.  Next week is the last full week of bus service for three routes serving Uptown riders.  As of December 16th:
  • The 144 (Marine/Michigan Express) bus will be eliminated
  • The 145 (Wilson/Michigan Express) bus will be eliminated
  • The 148 (Clarendon/Michigan Express) bus route will be changed and will no longer run on Wilson.
Even though many, many, many of you wrote and phoned the CTA... even though Uptown residents testified at two separate hearings about the hardships that the route cancellations will make to our lives... even though Aldermen Cappleman and Pawar personally lobbied the CTA's president, Forrest Claypool... the CTA ain't budging.  Many of us felt they weren't even listening, even Ald. Pawar.  He told the Roscoe Review Journal:
"This is coming at a time when the Mayor and [CTA] President [Forrest] Claypool are talking about increasing public transit options citywide and reducing our carbon footprint. This flies in the face of that. ... 

This idea that there was public input and public participation is, frankly, bulls–t. Even after hearing from a few [area residents and businesses] to still arrive at the decision that they did, to me, seems like this was a done deal from the beginning and it’s just a terrible decision. It shows that, at least in this instance, that the CTA and the Mayor’s Office is out of touch.”
So, if you live west of Clarendon on Wilson, the CTA says you're screwed, too bad, so sad.  Take the el.  Or walk to another route, even though you may be disabled.  (Look at the picture above, with the symbols that denote that those routes are accessible to those with disabilities.  We're losing that accessibility.)

If you use a wheelchair or a walker, or if you're elderly, or if you have a baby stroller -- tough luck!  You don't really need to take public transportation, do you?  Just wait three years for the non-ADA-compliant Wilson L station to get an elevator.  Not one single station between Addison and Granville is handicapped-accessible and most of them have around 50 stairs -- impossible for many residents to negotiate.

Click to enlarge

 Here's the CTA's explanation about its "Plan to Reduce Crowding."

There's one last chance to save the routes, provided the CTA is in a mood to listen.  Ald. Pawar is organizing a trip to CTA Headquarters on Monday night, to bring citizens to the CTA Budget meeting.  Now, his concern is the #11 Lincoln bus, which runs through the 47th Ward and is also being eliminated.  However, if anyone from Uptown would like to also attend the meeting and speak on behalf of the bus routes we are losing, the details about it are here.  The meeting begins at 6pm.

Here is a list of the reasons that eliminating bus service on Wilson is detrimental to Uptown.  Here's CTA contact informationWe urge you to write or call the CTA to let your feelings be known.


  1. So stupid, not to mention this reduction in service is being coupled with a cost increase for users of the 30 day pass (among other items).

    They've started making announcements on the bus about the route changes and of course, half the bus reacts as if this is the first time they are hearing it.

    Shame on Claypool. Let him come live a day in the life of an uptown senior and then see how "just a few more blocks" can seem like miles

  2. Greg Hinz had a column on this a few months ago in Crain's Chicago business.

    To paraphrase "someone at the CTA has had it out for express buses for a long time and seems to be intent on eliminating them".

    I know when the last Daley was "mare" the Irving Park Express route was eliminated. It seemed to be part of his post Olympics loss hissy fit and made no sense.

    I'm more of a Wilson stop Red Line kinda rider than the buses, but this doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. Unless they figure they will force some people into taking the EL.

    SOME is the operative word. They'll also likely lose some riders too.

    The express buses downtown are nice if you work off Michigan Avenue. Depending on where get on at you can be downtown in 10-15 minutes. Beats the EL commute without having to endure the glory that is the Red Line Wilson EL stop.

  3. This sucks. Especially the 145. I don't think they take "traffic counts" or they would see that the 145 gets a lot of riders.

    How many of you are voting for Rahm next time? I'm not. I hope someone really strong runs against him. I vote for the other guy, by the way.

  4. If you click on the two links for "Call to Action" and "How to Contact the CTA" from last September, you'll see that the 145 bus has more riders than seven of the other eliminated routes, combined, and by the CTA's own figures, is in the top 30% of route riders.

    Why they decided to eliminate it is absolutely beyond me.

    They obviously have never been in a situation where they depended on the bus. Them telling riders to "just use the Red Line" when it is so very unfriendly to many CTA patrons is on the same level as "Let them eat cake."

  5. The CTA has contempt for its ridership and seems to feel its only mission is to get riders to and from the loop during rush hours, preferably on the train.

    When asked at November meeting with the Tribune's editorial board about the complaints regarding the cancellation of the 11 and 145, the CTA president responded:

    "you can't provide a $2 taxi for everyone who wants one."

    I think it was pretty obvious that this was a done deal. To the best of my knowledge the CTA has never made public the Northwestern study that purportedly guided its actions. I suspect this study could be easily discredited for an overreliance on 2-dimensional geography without regard to population density, the nature of the populations served and the like.

    The CTA then failed to perform its own promised follow-up where it would hold community meetings over the last 3 months.
    [go to bottom of first page of pdf]

    [Archived copy from This document does not appear to be on the CTA's website, although it was 2 weeks ago]

  6. I saw this comment on the RedEye Facebook page and though it was a really good point. "Lynn Payton" wrote:

    Am I the only one that thinks the "new" Red Line trains are the DUMBEST crap nugent freudel I've EVER seen?

    Somebody PUHLEASE tell me: Why in the hell would you introduce a new train with LESS seats so that passengers can have MORE STANDING ROOM in a major city that is ALREADY fricking overcrowded? WTF? You think people ENJOY standing up on their ride to work at the crack of damn dawn???? So, NOW you wanna give them more room to STAND now, instead of sit? Ya don't say, genius? REALLY? SERIOUSLY? What the fruegen haddell is wrong with you???!!!

    Ok, sooo, my point: in one section, we now have about 7 seats on each side on of the cars on our "new" trains which seat about 14 people total. That SAME amount of space USED TO be able to seat TWENTY-EIGHT PEOPLE. That is TWICE AS MUCH, you dingbats!! AND, the SAME amount of people are STILL standing in the aisle with LESS SEATS......but now that "extra standing room" you so gloriously touted has caused an EXTRA overflow of EXTRA passengers who USED TO have seats but who are now standing AND freezing their asses off at the train stops because they have been LEFT

    On my very first and only ride on that "new-fangled" S-O-B, there were people backed up for DAYS on all of the stops south of Wilson (where I got on). But, check this out: it was like 11:00 am in the morning, wayyyyy AFTER rush hour. And guess what else? The back-up was because there was NO MORE DAMN ROOM to stand OR sit!!! #dumb, dumb and DUMBER and MAJOR stupid!! #FAIL! -_-