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schwerve Mar 20, 2009 2:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Abner (Post 4149953)
I haven't heard anybody ask yet why the Dan Ryan Red Line is 14% slow when the line was just redone.

my understanding is that the rehab project was just power and station work, they didn't touch the rails.

Chicago Shawn Mar 20, 2009 2:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Abner (Post 4149953)
I haven't heard anybody ask yet why the Dan Ryan Red Line is 14% slow when the line was just redone. It crawls all the way from Cermak to 35th. Same with the Dearborn Subway, I thought they had just gotten done fixing things down there. Is there a good explanation?

Also remember that 8.4% of the system being slow zoned means you spend a lot more than 8.4% of your time in a slow zone.

Was the Cermak to 35th stretch redone? I know south of 35th certinaly was. If it was redone, and the slow zone is not weather related, is there any way to hold the contractor accountable for shoddy work?

The Dearborn Subway just secured stimulas funds to do a full track and tie rebuild, ala State Street Subway. I spotted some electrical work for a new signal in the Clark/Lake station this afternoon, so perhaps work has already started.

Chicago Shawn Mar 20, 2009 2:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by schwerve (Post 4149979)
my understanding is that the rehab project was just power and station work, they didn't touch the rails.

I think you are right about that.

VivaLFuego Mar 20, 2009 2:36 AM

I think they did some selective tie and ballast renewal on the Dan Ryan branch, but it really needs all new ties, tie plates, and ballast; might as well do the whole shebang like on the O'Hare branch and build it to a 70mph standard. Not sure about the running rail - the rail itself can in theory last a very long time but running in the middle of the Dan Ryan is a particularly harsh environment on infrastructure because of not only the temperature but also the salt spray.

Taft Mar 20, 2009 2:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 4149795)
Right now, even if we ignore the Purple Line as just being ridiculously ignored, the rest of the system still averages 6.6% slow - and that's with three lines being essentially 15 or fewer years old (Green rebuilt, Pink rebuilt, Orange new just over 15 years ago), and the Dan Ryan, State Street subway and O'Hare branches having significant recent track work. It astounds me how far it's gone and how accepting we are of that.

You have a good point: the CTA can and should do better. At the same time, look at where the system was 2 years ago. The CTA has improved.

But more important (for me, anyway) is that transit in Chicago in general could very well see some of the funding it has been waiting so long for. Between the stimulus money and the new capital improvement budget being floated at the state level, the CTA may finally have at least a good chunk of the money it needs to get the system to a state of good repair. And to be clear: this money, if available, would be put overwhelmingly towards repair and improvement of existing service.

I know this isn't a sure thing, but it does seem like some of the politics that have been saddling the CTA for a decade may be fading, even if only temporarily. I remain cautiously optimistic.

ChicagoChicago Mar 20, 2009 3:13 PM

Can someone explain to me the significance of building the Belmont and Fullerton stations out of concrete? I imagine it’s more expensive, but does it last longer too? It is definitely quieter and easier on the surrounding environment.

spyguy Mar 20, 2009 7:59 PM

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/news.pl?id=33405

Obama taps Aon lawyer for DOT role
By: Paul Merrion March 20, 2009


As expected, President Barack Obama nominated Robert Rivkin, vice-president and deputy general counsel of Aon Corp., to be general counsel of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

He’s the third Illinoisan tapped for a top post at that department so far, starting with Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, former Republican congressman from Peoria. Former Riverdale Mayor Joe Szabo also was named Thursday as administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration.

Mr. Rivkin, who served as general counsel of the Chicago Transit Authority from 2001 to 2004, was a member of the president’s transition team on transportation and led a transportation policy committee for the Obama for America campaign.

the urban politician Mar 21, 2009 1:22 AM

^ Wow, Illinois sure is building a lot of Federal transportation clout

Busy Bee Mar 21, 2009 3:58 AM

Cue up Sam Cooke's Bring It On Home To Me.

denizen467 Mar 21, 2009 7:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bnk (Post 4147761)
"We will build a third airport in the south suburbs of Chicago and we will build it as fast as humanly possible," Quinn said during his budget address at the state Capitol.

What, is the new guy as disconnected from reality as G-Rod was?
I love the emphasis on infrastructure, but priorities should be elsewhere now. Is he just plumbing for suburban votes?

Chicago Shawn Mar 22, 2009 6:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by denizen467 (Post 4152062)
What, is the new guy as disconnected from reality as G-Rod was?
I love the emphasis on infrastructure, but priorities should be elsewhere now. Is he just plumbing for suburban votes?

Probably.

I went to a town hall meeting in Oak Lawn yesterday held by Congressman Dan Lipinski. When asked, he said that he has not and will not support Peotone unless airlines sign on to use it, and cited Mid-America airport downstate as an example of an unused white elephant.

That town hall was a little brutal, the room was filled with angry suburban Republicans, some of them openly racist saying shit like "Mexico is taking us over, we now need to go take over Mexico!" And getting applauds for saying it. :( It was a nice reminder of one little reason of why I can't stand the suburbs. As dysfunctional as city government can be at times, at least we don't have to deal with that ultra-conservative crap on a daily basis. I had to keep reminding myself, that the room was probably filled with just the staunchest folks in the area, and does not represent common beliefs (I hope!). I went to the meeting because I wanted to personally thank Lipinski for his hard work in securing mass transit funds in the stimulus bill, and to voice my support for the Orange Line extension.

A nice little mood cleanser was the nice weather that accompanied me on a 2 1/2 mile walk up to the Oak Lawn Metra Station where I boarded one of the SWS new Saturday trains. I was happily greeted by a platform filled with other happy folks cheering loudly as the train pulled in. The Village of Oak Lawn had some employees taking pictures of the event. I am happy to report that the second inbound train was pretty darn full. Just about every seat was taken in the cars that were open for public seating. :tup:

puckle74 Mar 22, 2009 7:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Shawn (Post 4153388)
That town hall was a little brutal, the room was filled with angry suburban Republicans, some of them openly racist saying shit like "Mexico is taking us over, we now need to go take over Mexico!" And getting applauds for saying it. :( It was a nice reminder of one little reason of why I can't stand the suburbs. As dysfunctional as city government can be at times, at least we don't have to deal with that ultra-conservative crap on a daily basis. I had to keep reminding myself, that the room was probably filled with just the staunchest folks in the area, and does not represent common beliefs (I hope!). :tup:

Oak Lawn? I thought all of the right wingers lived in yorkville now. Or Indiana? Don't they hate everything about chicago and cook county.

Chicago Shawn Mar 22, 2009 7:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by puckle74 (Post 4153411)
Oak Lawn? I thought all of the right wingers lived in yorkville now. Or Indiana? Don't they hate everything about chicago and cook county.

One would think so. The grumpiest people were old dust farts. So, I would wager these were the folks that moved to what was then the fringe in the 1960's, raised families and then never left. They are living out their final years and final frustrations of watching their community and nation adjust to a changing society.

the urban politician Mar 22, 2009 2:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Shawn (Post 4153388)
That town hall was a little brutal, the room was filled with angry suburban Republicans, some of them openly racist saying shit like "Mexico is taking us over, we now need to go take over Mexico!" And getting applauds for saying it. :( It was a nice reminder of one little reason of why I can't stand the suburbs. As dysfunctional as city government can be at times, at least we don't have to deal with that ultra-conservative crap on a daily basis. I had to keep reminding myself, that the room was probably filled with just the staunchest folks in the area, and does not represent common beliefs (I hope!). I went to the meeting because I wanted to personally thank Lipinski for his hard work in securing mass transit funds in the stimulus bill, and to voice my support for the Orange Line extension.

^ Not to get political, but lets not generalize about suburbanites here. I don't deny that you were clearly in a room full of fuck-faces, but Obama won the presidency by winning over suburban America.

simcityaustin Mar 23, 2009 2:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Shawn (Post 4153388)
Probably.

That town hall was a little brutal, the room was filled with angry suburban Republicans, some of them openly racist saying shit like "Mexico is taking us over, we now need to go take over Mexico!"


Why are you trying to make the correlation between racists and Republicans? I know more rascist liberals than conservatives....seriously, even if a correlation can be made it's not because Republicans are racists, they just agree with things rednecks like...less taxes, less gun control, more state control....a classic case of correlation not equaling causation.

nomarandlee Mar 23, 2009 7:05 AM

:previous: Just par for the course. SSP is known for first discussing urbanity, only slightly second is the brave righteous indignation of liberal folk about all of the diabolic evils of anything right of center (inside this country at least).


Quote:


http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...0,398128.story


Metra service: Why Metra is riding slow train to future
Conductors still manually check tickets, collect cash fares
By Richard Wronski | Tribune reporter
March 23, 2009

Since Metra was formed more than two decades ago, people have made the use of credit cards, cell phones and the Internet second nature.

But Metra conductors still ply the aisles as they did back in 1983, punching paper tickets by hand. And while other transit agencies provide alerts about delayed trains on Web-enabled cell phones, Metra customers stuck on platforms rely on squawky public-address announcements that sound straight from the Thomas Edison era.

Despite ridership that has soared to a record 85 million, Metra still operates, some argue, as if it's stuck in the past.

And don't get people started on the usefulness of Metra's Web site.

So if Metra really aims to be "the way to really fly" in the 21st Century, here are some suggestions from passengers and transportation experts. They're not all about technology, but that's a good place to start:

Paper tickets

Metra runs on paper, as in paper tickets. Although the majority of riders use monthly passes, passengers in January still bought more than 666,000 one-way tickets or used 10-ride tickets, which conductors have to punch individually.

Conductors also sell tickets on board, which can be time-consuming when trains are crowded.

Checking every ticket is necessary, Metra says, because it has an "open" boarding system, unlike the CTA and other closed rail systems that use turnstiles.

Other open rail systems have done away with punching and checking individual tickets. For example, conductors on Boston's Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority check tickets with hand-held electronic devices.

"Electronic fare collection is the standard almost everywhere," said Joseph Schofer, a transportation expert at Northwestern University.

On Caltrain, a commuter rail line operating between San Francisco and San Jose, passengers buy tickets from vending machines and conductors make random checks. Anyone without a ticket faces a $250 fine.


Credit cards
It's cash or checks only on Metra. The line doesn't take plastic because of the processing fees that credit-card companies impose, Metra spokeswoman Judy Pardonnet said.

This would amount to millions of dollars a year and would have to be passed along to customers, she said.

The CTA and other commuter lines accept credit and debit cards while allowing riders to buy tickets from fare vending machines.

Installing vending machines at 240 stations on 11 train lines would be cost-prohibitive for a service that is convenient but not crucial, Pardonnet said.

DePaul University transportation expert Joseph Schwieterman said he was struck by how easy it was to buy a $2 ticket with a credit card on Portland's MAX light-rail system. Not allowing this on Metra "is a shame," he said.

Meanwhile, other transit systems are bypassing tickets altogether in favor of "smart" versions of MasterCard and Visa cards containing computer chips. These "touch and go" cards don't need to be swiped, allowing quicker boarding.

MasterCard has had a trial under way with the New York transit system since 2006. The CTA said it plans to do the same next year.


Train tracker

For harried commuters, few experiences are more grating than making a mad dash to the station, only to discover that the train is running 15 minutes late.

The practice of manually checking tickets and collecting fares strikes some riders as harmlessly quaint. But it riles others who have to dig down for cash or sign a check because Metra won't take plastic.

A system similar to the CTA's Bus Tracker would help by sending service advisories directly to a customer's BlackBerry or similar device.

Metra already keeps track of its trains with global positioning system (GPS) technology and posts service advisories on its Web site, metrarail.com. It also uses this information to make station announcements over a low-tech public-address system.

But riders such as Kirk Hartley of Orland Park want more.

"Riders for years have been asking for something very basic—to be able to sign up for e-mail alerts for service interruptions, which the airlines have been doing for years," Hartley said.

Metra says it will award a contract this year to upgrade its Web site, which will allow the line to offer a train tracker system.

Other commuter rail lines, including those in Boston and Long Island, N.Y., already offer real-time information on train schedules, alerts and service advisories.



Web site
The coming improvements to the Web site are long overdue, say experts and customers who agree the site is outdated.

"The Metra Web site looks like an old paper [railroad] schedule posted on the Web," Schofer said. "It is not easy to find or see what you are looking for. And it is not interactive."

For attractiveness and ease of navigation, the mass-transit gold standard might be the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's site, mbta.com.

Wireless Internet access

Although Metra riders can use laptops, they can forget about accessing the Internet.

The MBTA boasts that it offers first-in-the-nation free Wi-Fi service on its commuter trains.

The Boston-area agency plans to have at least two coaches on each train Wi-Fi-enabled by spring.

The MBTA says it costs about $1 million to install the hardware, plus about $270,000 a year to service, but the agency expects to make up the cost in additional ridership.

Seat hogs

Passengers who take up more than one seat are a common target of barbs in Metra's on-board newsletter, On the Bi-Level.

If trains are crowded, conductors are expected to remind riders to put bags or packages on the floor or luggage rack and to flip over seat backs.

"Frequently the conductor will go through the cars and mention it when people are taking up more than their fair share" of space, Pardonnet said.


Cell phone noise

So you've found a seat and settled in, only to discover another bane of rail commuting: the rider who thinks phone conversations should be conducted in a booming voice.

Metra says it broadcasts reminders and posts notices asking for courtesy, and conductors occasionally remind passengers to be considerate.

But designating "quiet cars" or requiring cell phone users to talk in vestibules would be impractical, Pardonnet said.


Toilets

Metra riders have long been challenged in finding convenient toilets.

In August, Metra announced it would cut the number of toilets to install more seats. The goal is to reduce the percentage of cars with toilets from 60 percent to 50 percent of the fleet.

Metra chief Phil Pagano vowed that every other car will have a toilet but added that he didn't believe passengers would notice the difference.


Bar cars

Metra also decided last year to shut down its remaining 10 "refreshment" cars, where alcoholic beverages were sold.

Patrons were upset, although some riders found the party atmosphere on the cars to be irritating. Now, fans BYO and party on.


Food and drink

Except for events such as Taste of Chicago or on New Year's Eve, Metra allows passengers to bring drinks on board.

Food is also permitted, although some passengers are sure to find the smell of someone else's sweet-and-sour shrimp dinner annoying.

"We don't have a problem with messes on the trains," Pardonnet said. "People seem to be pretty cooperative with cleaning up after themselves."

rwronski@tribune.com

Chicago Shawn Mar 23, 2009 4:31 PM

^As old fashioned as it is, the paper system does work. Metra however, should have never removed the turnstyles from the electric line stations. I do wish that perhaps we could get a few vending machines where one could generate a paper ticket by swiping a CTA fare card or Chicago Card and deducting the needed amount.


Quote:

Originally Posted by simcityaustin (Post 4154523)
Why are you trying to make the correlation between racists and Republicans? I know more rascist liberals than conservatives....seriously, even if a correlation can be made it's not because Republicans are racists, they just agree with things rednecks like...less taxes, less gun control, more state control....a classic case of correlation not equaling causation.

Um, because they publicly said they are Republicans. I was just posting an observation, not making a correlation. That is why I said, Some were openly racist, not accusing the whole room. My old neighborhood of Jefferson Park has a quite a few racist democrats that I had to deal with.

Abner Mar 23, 2009 5:30 PM

Metra's website looks like it was made by a 12 year old in 1998. Hope they can finally fix that.

How do zoned commuter rail systems work in other cities? Do they usually have turnstiles that you put your card into when you enter and exit?

nomarandlee Mar 23, 2009 5:38 PM

Though all of those are important improvements I think the most needed could be the Wi-Fi. One has to give some customers some service advantages they just will not be able to get with driving anytime in the near future. Being able to easily do your work before you even get to the office would be seen as a major plus by potential riders.

VivaLFuego Mar 23, 2009 6:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Shawn (Post 4155377)
Metra however, should have never removed the turnstyles from the electric line stations.

While having an electronic ticketing system was a potential plus for that line, the south side and south suburban residents had a decent point in wondering why that was the only line "singled out" for such a fare collection scheme. Of course one could get into a lengthy historical explanation of how that came to be, but by then you've already lost any political debate. Removing them was probably a cheaper option anyway - less old equipment to maintain, particularly at some low ridership stations.

The RTA should step up to the plate and get Metra to immediately plan and budget for implementation of electronic fare collection - of course they will still need conductors, but they need to accept credit cards, and importantly need to accept smart cards for something resembling actual fare integration with CTA and Pace.

For years, Metra under Jeff Ladd fought vigorously against any sort of regional cooperation - and you know what? Metra has been a very well run, well-maintained, prudent railroad, with few boondoggle projects initiatives (leaving out the STAR line, here). It has become so in part because of Ladd's conscious and consistent hostility to bowing to any political pressure whatsoever - not that Metra even receives much at all compared to the ludicrous political demands placed on CTA. But Metra has, for nearly 2 decades, almost always done what is best for Metra in terms of capital budgeting/planning, scheduling, and so on. Are the results so bad? Riding Metra is a great experience - but using it intermodally as part of a regional transit network? Not so much.

Upgrading the fare systems would be expensive - from the standpoint Metra's bottom line, maintaining the status quo is probably cheaper, as ongoing operating savings in cash handling would be eaten up by credit card fees. This issue highlights the need for a stronger and more active RTA, as such an initiative, while costly to Metra, has important regional benefit.

EDIT: somewhat amusingly, check out this Crain's article:
http://www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-b...gobusiness.com

Well, I guess to clarify, Ladd was perhaps only against doing anything political in terms of actual train service...

Dr. Taco Mar 23, 2009 6:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Abner (Post 4155465)
Metra's website looks like it was made by a 12 year old in 1998.

haha, it really does

Mr Downtown Mar 23, 2009 9:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Abner (Post 4155465)
How do zoned commuter rail systems work in other cities? Do they usually have turnstiles that you put your card into when you enter and exit?

No, suburban train systems work pretty much the same all over the world: there's no barrier to access and a conductor or trainman audits tickets on the train.

BART and WMATA are hybrids between rapid transit and traditional suburban rail, so they have turnstiles at all stations.

emathias Mar 24, 2009 2:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4155814)
No, suburban train systems work pretty much the same all over the world: there's no barrier to access and a conductor or trainman audits tickets on the train.

BART and WMATA are hybrids between rapid transit and traditional suburban rail, so they have turnstiles at all stations.

As does the RER in Paris.

Some of the CTA "L" Lines are as long as commuter lines in some places. That said, I'd love to see Metra through-routed more than I care about the fare-collection system. Someone posted an old (1914 I think) recommendation report to do that, and it would open up some interesting possibilities.

orulz Mar 24, 2009 1:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4155814)
No, suburban train systems work pretty much the same all over the world: there's no barrier to access and a conductor or trainman audits tickets on the train.

BART and WMATA are hybrids between rapid transit and traditional suburban rail, so they have turnstiles at all stations.

That's not the case everywhere; Japan, and I believe Korea as well, have ticket agents and/or automatic fare gates for suburban and intercity rail.

Fares in Japan area always calculated by distance.

Some lines with fewer trains and less traffic operate in "Wan Man" mode. When you get off the train, you show your ticket to the driver or conductor who stands by the door. Or if you board at a station that is particularly sparse and has no agent or ticket vending machine, you are given a "Seiriken" when you board that serves as proof of where you boarded, and when you get off show the seiriken to the conductor/engineer and pay the proper fare based on the distance you have traveled.

Basically, this means that instead of the platform being the "paid area", the train itself becomes the "paid area."

No doubt you've heard that in Japan there is a culture of mutual respect and of following rules, so I find it odd that in they are so strict about having barriers and ensuring that no unpaid customers can travel. Compared to the US or Europe, fare evasion on a proof-of-payment system would not be a problem in Japan, yet proof-of-payment is essentially non-existent.


Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 4156461)
As does the RER in Paris.

Some of the CTA "L" Lines are as long as commuter lines in some places. That said, I'd love to see Metra through-routed more than I care about the fare-collection system. Someone posted an old (1914 I think) recommendation report to do that, and it would open up some interesting possibilities.

More run-through tracks at Union Station would be an excellent place to start. I doubt they can do that without tearing down the building that sits above the platforms, though. Some plans for union station call for doing just that.

VivaLFuego Mar 24, 2009 3:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 4156461)
As does the RER in Paris.

Some of the CTA "L" Lines are as long as commuter lines in some places. That said, I'd love to see Metra through-routed more than I care about the fare-collection system. Someone posted an old (1914 I think) recommendation report to do that, and it would open up some interesting possibilities.

The only justification for such through-routing would be for efficient real estate usage downtown: wasting less space on tracks/platforms/viaducts etc. With through-routing, you just require less trackage overall. From a consumer demand and cost-efficiency standpoint, the nature of commuter traffic is such that the standard commuter rail model is far and away most efficient, assuming you have a staging yard not too far out from the center to hold trains mid-day. Remember, even the early rapid transit lines, built as private enterprises, built stub terminals downtown, and through-routing only became the norm for rapid transit operations as the lines consolidated into a public corporation (that's my take, MrD might be able to fill in some details).

The study from 1914 hyped up the fact that with through-routing, someone could ride from Hyde Park to Evanston... on the same train. So what? Through-routing the service reduces your basic RASM/CASM (revenue-avg-seat-mile divided by cost-avg-seat-mile) as it reduces the overall average load on the trains while in service.

Even with rapid transit, only in the densest/busiest of corridors (e.g. the Red Line) is there an operating cost/revenue justification for through-routed train service. The only reason for CTA to run so many 8-car trains heading back out of downtown all the way to end-of-the-line terminals is because there is nowhere to store the trains near downtown. Well, that, and politics.

Mr Roboto Mar 24, 2009 4:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Shawn (Post 4155377)
^As old fashioned as it is, the paper system does work. Metra however, should have never removed the turnstyles from the electric line stations. I do wish that perhaps we could get a few vending machines where one could generate a paper ticket by swiping a CTA fare card or Chicago Card and deducting the needed amount.

I agree there has to be some sort of compatability between the CTA and Metra fare systems. The fact that there still isnt is not only outdated, its moronic.

arenn Mar 24, 2009 5:49 PM

What percentage of people transfer between Metra and CTA other than commuters using the CTA for distribution from the train station?

emathias Mar 24, 2009 7:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by arenn (Post 4157442)
What percentage of people transfer between Metra and CTA other than commuters using the CTA for distribution from the train station?

I don't have numbers, but I'd guess not a lot.

The real question, though, is how many would if it were an easier option? Not just tickets (which are really not an insurmountable issue right even now), but station location and defined transfer walkways, schedule coordination, etc.

VivaLFuego Mar 24, 2009 8:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by arenn (Post 4157442)
What percentage of people transfer between Metra and CTA other than commuters using the CTA for distribution from the train station?

Pretty small. There are a few thousand Metra commuters per day (out of a total of what, approximately 125,000?) who use one of the various CTA distributor buses (the 120s, 157, and the 33, the latter paid for by Metra interestingly). There are statistically significant (by which I mean statistically larger than zero) levels of transfer activity at Davis, Jefferson Park, and Montrose/Mayfair, but it's still pretty small as percentage of commute trips. This is studied every so often, and if memory serves, Davis was the only notable commuter rail <-> rapid transit transfer point, and it was in the range of a couple hundred per day.

However, I don't think this has been studied again since the advent of the Pink Line - there is definitely some level of interchange between UP district Metra riders and the Pink Line out to the Medical District from the Clinton/Lake station.

Fare integration would be useful to regional transit riders primarily as a form of bus transfer, I think - it makes CTA and Pace bus service more attractive as a feeder system to long-haul trips via Metra rail.

Chicago3rd Mar 24, 2009 8:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Roboto (Post 4157255)
I agree there has to be some sort of compatability between the CTA and Metra fare systems. The fact that there still isnt is not only outdated, its moronic.

Amen. I hate not being able to buy my tickets for metra at the stops like CTA. I hate there isn't a combined system for paying fares. We need RTA to be regional once and for all.

Metra doesn't want CTA because the same reason CTA doesn't allow the Yellow, Brown and Purple line to continue west or south

Chicago3rd Mar 24, 2009 8:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 4157685)
Fare integration would be useful to regional transit riders primarily as a form of bus transfer, I think - it makes CTA and Pace bus service more attractive as a feeder system to long-haul trips via Metra rail.

It would be useful for me to use my CTA pass to take the Lawrence bus to the Ravenwood Metra then transfer with my CTA Card to take the 14 minute ride downtown.

It would be easier for me to hop the Metra to Jefferson Station then the BLue line out to O'Hare. Can save a lot of time.

It would be useful if the brownline at Addison had a transfer station to CTA so people along the lake could use Metra to go north.....quicker than the red line/purple line.

Am sure there are tons of scenerios that would be beneficial to the riders....it is the political ownership issues that get in the way of easier public transportation in the Chicagoland area.

jpIllInoIs Mar 24, 2009 8:52 PM

^ I've always thought that there should be a Metra stop at Addison St. where the UP North Line runs parallel to the Brown Line.

Abner Mar 24, 2009 9:28 PM

I would certainly transfer between Metra and CTA a lot if I didn't have to pay two full fares to do it. I have a hunch there would be a lot more transferring between the systems if the fares were integrated.

bnk Mar 24, 2009 9:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 4157685)
Pretty small. There are a few thousand Metra commuters per day (out of a total of what, approximately 125,000?) who use one of the various CTA distributor buses (the 120s, 157, and the 33, the latter paid for by Metra interestingly). .

Number of lines 11
Number of stations 237
Daily ridership 335,900

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metra

Attrill Mar 24, 2009 9:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by arenn (Post 4157442)
What percentage of people transfer between Metra and CTA other than commuters using the CTA for distribution from the train station?

I take Metra from Clybourn to Ravenswood on a regular basis and there are plenty of people transferring from buses to Metra and vice versa (roughly a third of riders). I take the Armitage bus to get to the Clybourn Metra stop.

Why do you exclude "commuters using the CTA for distribution from the train station"? That is a large number of Metra riders who would benefit from an integrated system.

VivaLFuego Mar 24, 2009 10:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago3rd (Post 4157736)
It would be useful for me to use my CTA pass to take the Lawrence bus to the Ravenwood Metra then transfer with my CTA Card to take the 14 minute ride downtown.

This is probably your only hypothetical scenario that would have high enough ridership levels to justify the investment. An Addison transfer has been studied in the past - but it has a very narrowly focused benefit geographically, in contrast to say, making it more attractive to take a bus to a Metra line, which is regional.

VivaLFuego Mar 24, 2009 10:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bnk (Post 4157851)
Number of lines 11
Number of stations 237
Daily ridership 335,900

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metra

Total rides, not commuters. 335K sounds a little high, I'm guessing that's a fall peak figure and not an annual average? I thought it was more in the 310K daily range.

Mr Downtown Mar 24, 2009 11:58 PM

Here's Bion J. Arnold's 1914 scheme for through-routing steam road commuter service. It still makes a lot of sense to me:

http://img236.imageshack.us/img236/7...hrouteslg7.gif
Hooker, George Ellsworth. Through Routes for Chicago's Steam Railroads. City Club of Chicago, 1914

1. IC to C&NW North Line via a new subway under St. Clair and Ohio
2. Rock Island, NYC, and C&WI to C&NW Northwest Line via a new subway under LaSalle and Ohio
3. Alton, Wabash, and Pennsy to Milwaukee Road lines via Union Station
4. Burlington to C&NW West Line via Union Station

Arnold took a lot of trouble to avoid crossing lines, which today might not be so essential. It might make sense to reconsider his threading, so that the BNSF, for instance, would link to the UP North Line rather than doubling back west. Or, since every line basically goes through a throat near Kinzie/Desplaines, a big transfer station there would allow any possible transfer. Of course, my first move would be to put all the Metra lines on half-hour non-rush headways, so the system could work as regional rail rather than commuter rail.

Though I'd probably put the new subway under Chicago rather than Ohio, I still think that would be a useful and farsighted way for us to spend a billion dollars.

It's not just to make for better transfers to CTA; this through-routing allows regional rail lines to do their own downtown distribution so some CTA trips become unnecessary. Such connections have been created in several German cities, notably Munich, by Paris's new RER tunnels, and in Sydney and Melbourne. The only North American example is Philadelphia's mid-80s project to connect the former Pennsylvania and Reading commuter lines with a tunnel under Market Street.

The through-routing of Chicago streetcars and rapid transit trains was forced by the city, I think. The Union Loop was built as a loop that the various elevated railroads could use by paying so much per car, but in 1911 the four companies consolidated for marketing purposes as Chicago Rapid Transit, though the underlying corporations still existed legally. The same thing was true of the streetcars, where several different companies received the franchises and built the lines, but eventually they called the whole system "Chicago Surface Lines."

Chicago Shawn Mar 25, 2009 4:24 AM

^Awesome information. Thanks for that informative post Mr. D.

I find it particularity interesting that Ohio was chosen as a through route connection. Who would have thought just 40 years later that it was used for the same purpose, but with an entirely new mode of transportation.


*If* the West Loop Transportation Center ever becomes a reality, then Union Station will get a minimum of two new through-tracks under Clinton Street. I would imagine this would be built in conjunction with a new CTA Clinton-Larabee subway, as they would be stacked together vertically under the street. It will be ridiculously expensive to construct, but I personally believe the benefits would be worth it. Union Station right now is at capacity during AM-PM peak. Those new tracks would certainly be used frequently between Metra and Amtrak, which would no longer be forced to back trains out of the station and could do a St. Louis to Milwaukee Route and so forth. There has been a right-of-way easement preserved in K Station to allow for the future decent down to the subterranean through-route tracks that would be built under Clinton.

denizen467 Mar 25, 2009 7:53 AM

^ Ahh, the South Branch had so much more personality in 1914, before it was straightened.

spyguy Mar 25, 2009 3:46 PM

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/news.pl?id=33446

South Shore rail line to increase service
March 25, 2009


The South Shore commuter rail line in northwestern Indiana plans to add trains to its weekend schedule to ease overcrowding and delays between South Bend and Chicago.

Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District spokesman John Parsons says that currently only 53 percent of weekend trains run on time.

The railroad wants to add cars to trains departing Chicago on weekend mornings and add a train that leaves at 9:15 p.m. A morning express train from South Bend to Chicago is also planned.

arenn Mar 25, 2009 7:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4158139)
Arnold took a lot of trouble to avoid crossing lines, which today might not be so essential. It might make sense to reconsider his threading, so that the BNSF, for instance, would link to the UP North Line rather than doubling back west. Or, since every line basically goes through a throat near Kinzie/Desplaines, a big transfer station there would allow any possible transfer. Of course, my first move would be to put all the Metra lines on half-hour non-rush headways, so the system could work as regional rail rather than commuter rail.

The beauty of through routing is that you could use your subway connections to reduce volume through the A-2 interlocking.

Quote:

Though I'd probably put the new subway under Chicago rather than Ohio, I still think that would be a useful and farsighted way for us to spend a billion dollars.

It's not just to make for better transfers to CTA; this through-routing allows regional rail lines to do their own downtown distribution so some CTA trips become unnecessary. Such connections have been created in several German cities, notably Munich, by Paris's new RER tunnels, and in Sydney and Melbourne. The only North American example is Philadelphia's mid-80s project to connect the former Pennsylvania and Reading commuter lines with a tunnel under Market Street.
That's it. The beauty is collection and distribution, not through routing per se. If you through route the IC with CNW-N line, you really could create something like the RER route, especially as there is an abandoned express track on the CNW-N routing that could be used. This would also facilitate better Metra-CTA connectivity at key junctions like say Irving Park Rd.

Don't I recall that Illinois Center was designed to accommodate trains to the Chicago River?

The BART system more or less acts like this.

Of course, the RER by itself carries more people than the entire Chicagoland public transit system....

arenn Mar 25, 2009 7:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 4157675)
I don't have numbers, but I'd guess not a lot.

The real question, though, is how many would if it were an easier option? Not just tickets (which are really not an insurmountable issue right even now), but station location and defined transfer walkways, schedule coordination, etc.

That's my point. If the systems aren't integrated, then fare integration doesn't buy you anything.

ChicagoChicago Mar 25, 2009 7:56 PM

Can somebody tell me when the Paulina brown line stop is supposed to open? In the past, they’ve announced around 2 weeks out when the stations would reopen. We’re coming up on the 1 year timetable the CTA laid out, but I haven’t heard anything. Other than painting the track beams, the thing is done.

arenn Mar 25, 2009 8:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChicagoChicago (Post 4159615)
Can somebody tell me when the Paulina brown line stop is supposed to open? In the past, they’ve announced around 2 weeks out when the stations would reopen. We’re coming up on the 1 year timetable the CTA laid out, but I haven’t heard anything. Other than painting the track beams, the thing is done.

It's a joke. That station has been like 95% complete since December. The media have reported that it will re-open by the end of the month. Right now they are painting the L structure, so hopefully that's the last bit. The for sale sign is already up for the corner lot leftover after construction.

schwerve Mar 25, 2009 8:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChicagoChicago (Post 4159615)
Can somebody tell me when the Paulina brown line stop is supposed to open? In the past, they’ve announced around 2 weeks out when the stations would reopen. We’re coming up on the 1 year timetable the CTA laid out, but I haven’t heard anything. Other than painting the track beams, the thing is done.

http://www.ctabrownline.com/

april 3rd

ChicagoChicago Mar 25, 2009 9:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by schwerve (Post 4159752)

They must've posted that today... Bastards.

schwerve Mar 25, 2009 9:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChicagoChicago (Post 4159792)
They must've posted that today... Bastards.

I think they did, but it has been on the construction schedule for a couple months.

Taft Mar 25, 2009 10:10 PM

Sound familiar?

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/20...fare-hikes/?hp

Quote:

M.T.A. Increases Fares and Cuts Services
By WILLIAM NEUMAN AND JENNIFER 8. LEE

Ruby Washington/The New York Times
David S. Mack, vice chairman of the M.T.A. board, and H. Dale Hemmerdinger, the chairman, at Wednesday’s session.
Updated, 11:40 a.m. | The board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted on Wednesday morning to enact a series of fare hikes and service cutbacks needed to keep the transit system from going broke.

The vote was broken largely into three parts: fare hikes, toll increases and service cutbacks. After hearing from the public and the board members, the board approved each by a vote of 12 to 1.
As I've long maintained, Chicago isn't completely unique in its transit funding quagmire. While pols around here like to point the finger at the CTA, other systems in this economic downturn are facing similar situations. Falling state and county revenue are really hitting transit hard right now.

I just wish the Trib would run this under the headline, "Economic downturn effecting transit systems nationwide" rather than, "MTA takes notes from CTA; threatens doomsday." :rolleyes:

arenn Mar 25, 2009 10:26 PM

Aren't the MTA's funding problems the result of massive borrowing without identified revenue to pay it back? IIRC they borrowed something like $50 billion for capital improvements. Laudable to invest, but not without having a plan to fund the debt service.


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