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-   -   CHICAGO: Transit Developments (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=101657)

tjp Mar 6, 2022 4:19 PM

My bus (the 148) had standing room only on Tuesday last week, for the first time I can remember since COVID. Never thought I would be happy to not have a seat :cheers:

Steely Dan Mar 6, 2022 4:23 PM

Waiting for a brown line train at wellington coming home from my kid's doctor's appointment at 5:00pm last Thursday, I watched two outbound red line trains roll by that were fully standing room only, the middle cars looking pretty damn sardined.

Our outbound brown line train was also standing room only.

So people are riding the trains at rush hour again.

My hunch is that WFH hurts Metra more than the L.

thegoatman Mar 6, 2022 6:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 9558216)
Wow, well I guess that’s good for transit. However, many will probably choose WFH over riding the train so I’m not sure how much gas prices will really boost transit ridership

Many jobs are starting to go minimum hybrid (2-4 days a week in office) with the mask/vax mandates dropping and covid cases dropping. I'm sure there will still be plenty WFH going on, but like everybody is saying, the trains are packed now.

tjp Mar 6, 2022 7:10 PM

Yeah, if a company downtown is requiring employees to come in, they're not gonna waive the requirement just because gas prices are high. Get on the train, b*tch. :D

twister244 Mar 6, 2022 8:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by thegoatman (Post 9558392)
Many jobs are starting to go minimum hybrid (2-4 days a week in office) with the mask/vax mandates dropping and covid cases dropping. I'm sure there will still be plenty WFH going on, but like everybody is saying, the trains are packed now.

I think part of it is people are itching to get out and about. Now that folks know they don't have to wear a mask anymore, they want to get the fuck out of the house. When I was in Miami a month ago, the WeWork there was extremely busy, and it's because people didn't have to follow mandates.

the urban politician Mar 6, 2022 8:50 PM

Wow, this is great to hear. Standing room only buses and trains?

I don’t want to throw a banana bash too early, but I’m going to remain cautiously hopeful about the future of transit-dependent urbanity

left of center Mar 6, 2022 9:06 PM

I think the CTA was bound to come back, simply because of congestion in the city, relatively low car ownership rates, the hassle of finding street parking/paying for off street parking, etc.

I agree with Steely that its Metra that is going to be suffering from the hybrid/WFH trend, since a much larger percentage of its users are commuters.

ardecila Mar 9, 2022 4:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 9558495)
Wow, this is great to hear. Standing room only buses and trains?

I don’t want to throw a banana bash too early, but I’m going to remain cautiously hopeful about the future of transit-dependent urbanity

CTA is gonna struggle with energy/fuel costs and huge shortage of staff from drivers/operators to mechanics. It's gonna get worse before it gets better even if ridership is ticking up. CTA buys fuel in bulk at pre-negotiated rates, so right now the increased costs are falling on the speculators. When it comes time to negotiate fuel for 2023, it's gonna be bad.

I imagine CTA will have no choice but to pay more for fuel and pay higher salaries to attract workers, and we will end up in another revenue crisis (aka "doomsday" scenario) like in 2010. Only this time politicians and the public have a pile of other doomsdays going on. With the discourse around WFH, will there be political support for pouring more taxpayer money into CTA?

One bright spot is that electric buses may finally be ready for prime-time. They are still far from perfect, but CTA can scale up their deployment of electric buses to blunt the impact of gas prices. Depends on what the Feds do as well, it would be great if they worked with bus manufacturers to scale up production and supported the training of new electricians to install/maintain all the charging infra.

Steely Dan Mar 9, 2022 5:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9561487)
With the discourse around WFH, will there be political support for pouring more taxpayer money into CTA?

well, crowded trains and buses might mean there will be political support for it.

at least in the city.

as i said earlier, metra might have the tougher hill to climb to in this situation as it is so much more singularly focused on getting suburban office workers into the loop (the very demographic most affected by WFH).

i would say that Pace has a tough hill to climb too, but it's already as bare bones of an operation as it can be; if you significantly cut it back anymore, you might as well just get rid of it altogether and give the working poor uber/lyft vouchers are something.

SIGSEGV Mar 9, 2022 6:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9561487)
CTA is gonna struggle with energy/fuel costs and huge shortage of staff from drivers/operators to mechanics. It's gonna get worse before it gets better even if ridership is ticking up. CTA buys fuel in bulk at pre-negotiated rates, so right now the increased costs are falling on the speculators. When it comes time to negotiate fuel for 2023, it's gonna be bad.

I imagine CTA will have no choice but to pay more for fuel and pay higher salaries to attract workers, and we will end up in another revenue crisis (aka "doomsday" scenario) like in 2010. Only this time politicians and the public have a pile of other doomsdays going on. With the discourse around WFH, will there be political support for pouring more taxpayer money into CTA?

One bright spot is that electric buses may finally be ready for prime-time. They are still far from perfect, but CTA can scale up their deployment of electric buses to blunt the impact of gas prices. Depends on what the Feds do as well, it would be great if they worked with bus manufacturers to scale up production and supported the training of new electricians to install/maintain all the charging infra.

Labor is going to be the main problem, fuel is not a big part of CTA operating expenses:

https://imgur.com/73QBnpp.png from https://www.transitchicago.com/asset...r_website).pdf

MayorOfChicago Mar 16, 2022 4:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 9558495)
Wow, this is great to hear. Standing room only buses and trains?

I don’t want to throw a banana bash too early, but I’m going to remain cautiously hopeful about the future of transit-dependent urbanity

Well headways are the main reason for standing room only. Very frequently right at morning/evening rush on the Blue Line the headways are still 12-15 minutes where they use to be 3-5 minutes. Today my train was the first one to come by at 8:45am in 16 minutes. So it was packed but if the trains were even running at every 5 minutes it would have been completely fine. As it was it was a huge crush.

Other problem just being the extreme homelessness problem etc on the trains. Well over half the seats on this morning rush blue line to the loop had people living/sleeping across all the rows. Legs out in the aisle and someone sleeping across to seats with their legs blocking the other two seats. Hard for people to pile in and stand.

We get downtown and the platform, tracks and stairs were covered in trash and filth, salt, etc. Escalator shut down and blocked off so everyone had to stand in huge lines to try and go single-file up the stairs as others tried to come down. Been like that all week.

Took the CTA for decades now and for the first time ever it's a huge hindrance in my desire to either WFH or be back in the office. I find myself not wanting to come in just because the train takes forever and is a stressful experience, that never even crossed my mind in the past. The conductors both going and coming were extremely apologetic over the speakers, said they were trying to do their best but there simply wasn't any staff anymore that could drive the trains.

MayorOfChicago Mar 16, 2022 4:37 PM

Not to pile on the CTA, just making sad observations. We had multiple people fly in from out west for St Paddy's weekend and we told them all to take the train to our house right off the Blue Line. Both coming and going it was a huge mess, trains delayed for a very long time, etc.

Two times as people tried to leave on Sunday we had to run over and grab them after they got up to the platform because the next train coming was just "Delay" on the tracker, meaning it was at least 20 minutes away since that's all the tracker goes up to. We hadn't planned that the next train would be up to a half hour on the blue line in the middle of the day. Once it comes we're only a 15 minute ride to O'hare.

Took the Brown Line with our three year olds and family in town two weeks ago - just for fun, a "train ride". Got on at Kimball and only rode to Montrose and ate there and took the train back. It was 26 minutes before the train left going to Montrose and we stood up in the cold for 33 minutes trying to get back. Everyone was super pissed and we were very embarassed since we said it would be fun. Feel even worse for the people trying to go downtown, there was already a large crowd waiting when we got up there and when I finally saw their train heading towards them it was at least 5-6 minutes after we had left Montrose going north. I bet those people waited ~45 minutes for a Brown Line going towards downtown on a Saturday afternoon. This is going to really cause people to give up on it.

tintinex Mar 16, 2022 6:31 PM

I saw this too. Many people angry because in such a predicted high volume times, trains were 15+ minutes in between. People were angry, trains were so packed that people that had been waiting for a long time couldn't get on.

I know there are factors like labor, etc on scheduling, but we KNEW this was going to be the biggest weekend in a very long time. It was sad to see the worst case scenario was playing out. People were upset and angry at all the huge delays and taking Ubers instead on frustration.

When our train system is running reliably, it is hard to state the impact that this has on regular ridership, because I don't have to think about waiting for 20 minutes for a train but instead head to the stop knowing it will always be less than 10 minutes until the next one.

Quote:

Originally Posted by MayorOfChicago (Post 9569093)
Not to pile on the CTA, just making sad observations. We had multiple people fly in from out west for St Paddy's weekend and we told them all to take the train to our house right off the Blue Line. Both coming and going it was a huge mess, trains delayed for a very long time, etc.

Two times as people tried to leave on Sunday we had to run over and grab them after they got up to the platform because the next train coming was just "Delay" on the tracker, meaning it was at least 20 minutes away since that's all the tracker goes up to. We hadn't planned that the next train would be up to a half hour on the blue line in the middle of the day. Once it comes we're only a 15 minute ride to O'hare.

Took the Brown Line with our three year olds and family in town two weeks ago - just for fun, a "train ride". Got on at Kimball and only rode to Montrose and ate there and took the train back. It was 26 minutes before the train left going to Montrose and we stood up in the cold for 33 minutes trying to get back. Everyone was super pissed and we were very embarassed since we said it would be fun. Feel even worse for the people trying to go downtown, there was already a large crowd waiting when we got up there and when I finally saw their train heading towards them it was at least 5-6 minutes after we had left Montrose going north. I bet those people waited ~45 minutes for a Brown Line going towards downtown on a Saturday afternoon. This is going to really cause people to give up on it.


Steely Dan Mar 16, 2022 6:36 PM

i took the brown line to and from downtown last saturday for the festivities.

zero issues both ways for me, 0 minute wait on the way down in the morning as i got very lucky on timing for an inbound train at rockwell.

then about a 4 minute wait for the train home from the loop in the late afternoon (pretty lucky again, i guess).

sorry to hear about other people's transit horror stories.

Chisouthside Mar 16, 2022 7:07 PM

The longer waiting times on the blue line wouldn't be so bad if they weren't so unpredictable. The train tracker is useless sometimes so you can't even plan ahead.It's gotten better since the height of omicron in January but 15 minute plus waits are still super common.

glowrock Mar 17, 2022 12:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chisouthside (Post 9569256)
The longer waiting times on the blue line wouldn't be so bad if they weren't so unpredictable. The train tracker is useless sometimes so you can't even plan ahead.It's gotten better since the height of omicron in January but 15 minute plus waits are still super common.

Seriously, the Blue Line has degraded severely in the last few years. I usually won't even take it right now because of the terrible wait times but more because the homeless/crazy inhabitants of the trains. I have a pretty high tolerance, but some of what I've witnessed recently is disgusting. I don't know if it's a CTA or CPS issue or both, but something must be done about the homeless on the trains.

Aaron (Glowrock)

VKChaz Mar 19, 2022 3:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by glowrock (Post 9569922)
Seriously, the Blue Line has degraded severely in the last few years. I usually won't even take it right now because of the terrible wait times but more because the homeless/crazy inhabitants of the trains. I have a pretty high tolerance, but some of what I've witnessed recently is disgusting. I don't know if it's a CTA or CPS issue or both, but something must be done about the homeless on the trains.

Aaron (Glowrock)

Sounds like the same issue that occurred in NYC during the pandemic with a concerted effort now to address the system and get ridership back up.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...mid-crime-wave

the urban politician Mar 19, 2022 12:43 PM

Yesterday headed to Chicago to run an errand, damn Blue Line running through the median seemed quite full of riders. Fuller than I even remember it being pre-pandemic

Vlajos Mar 19, 2022 5:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steely Dan (Post 9569218)
i took the brown line to and from downtown last saturday for the festivities.

zero issues both ways for me, 0 minute wait on the way down in the morning as i got very lucky on timing for an inbound train at rockwell.

then about a 4 minute wait for the train home from the loop in the late afternoon (pretty lucky again, i guess).

sorry to hear about other people's transit horror stories.

Same, we are in office 4 days a week now and I have had no issues at all with the Brown line.

tjp Mar 19, 2022 6:24 PM

Red line has been fine during the week too, although I did have a ten minute wait today (Saturday).


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