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  #5841  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2009, 4:05 PM
k1052 k1052 is offline
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I am most definitely not going to be paying $110 for the monthly pass and get significantly reduced rail/bus frequency in the dead of winter. For $10 more per month I can rent a heated garage space in my office building.
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  #5842  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2009, 4:48 PM
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I will note that the CTA unions, which account for 90% of the annual labor expenditure (labor being 68% of the total budget), are getting a 3.5% raise in 2010 after getting 3% in 2009.

Right off the bat, forgoing the 2010 raise would save somewhere on the order of $30 million, to say nothing of any other potential concessions.

Now, I swear I'm not trying to be an apologist, but...
Quote:
Originally Posted by whyhuhwhy View Post
this city will now have the highest sales tax in the country,
Highest merchandise-only sales tax in the country. Part of why the tax rate has gotten so high is that it's not broad-based (i.e. doesn't cover services), like sales tax frequently does in other states. Think about how much a 10% tax means when you're talking about $800 in labor for a car repair, a $1000 in labor for fixing some plumbing/electric issue at home, etc. In terms of total sales tax paid per capita I don't think we look nearly as bad.
http://www.taxfoundation.org/research/show/1388.html (Illinois ranks 11th)

Besides, the Tax-cap-induced Stroger Sales Tax looks to be imminently reduced from 1% to 0.5%.

Then, one might consider individual income tax collections as well.
http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxdata/show/282.html (Illinois ranks 33rd)

Not quite as friendly on the corporate income tax side, though, which of course is passed through to employees and consumers to a large extent.
http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxdata/show/281.html (Illinois ranks 11th)

Last edited by VivaLFuego; Oct 12, 2009 at 7:56 PM.
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  #5843  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2009, 6:57 PM
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Preliminary 2010 budget posted here:
http://www.transitchicago.com/assets...budgetbook.pdf

Recovery Ratio in 2009 will be 63%. In 2010, the proposed system revenue recovery ratio is 67-70%, depending on exactly which costs are included.

Of course, in past years, this ratio has been more in the 50-53% range.

LA is in the 20-25% range most years.

Last edited by VivaLFuego; Oct 12, 2009 at 7:15 PM.
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  #5844  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2009, 7:42 PM
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These Unions piss me off so much. Here everyone is getting laid off and universal salary freezes - and they're getting a 3-3.5% raise for two years now!!!

I work a nice corporate job downtown, and we were just told we aren't getting raises for the 2nd year in a row. No one even said anything - who would expect to get a raise when the economy is crumbling?


Screw this city with transit fares at $3.00.....after they were only $1.50 a few years ago! I do the monthly pass right now, but going from $75 not too long ago to $110 is a huge increase. I'll probably switch to pay as I go, and then take more cabs and finally get hitched up to carpool with friends that already gave up on the CTA.
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  #5845  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2009, 8:21 PM
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Looks like the 2010 shows estimated ridership to drop by around 50,000,000 because of the changes. Down to around 465M, the lowest number in quite a few years.
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  #5846  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2009, 9:03 PM
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Originally Posted by MayorOfChicago View Post
Looks like the 2010 shows estimated ridership to drop by around 50,000,000 because of the changes. Down to around 465M, the lowest number in quite a few years.
We need to demand action by our city and state on this. This is the kind of moment where concerned transit users need to rise up and put pressure on our elected officials. Let's face it: the majority is against us transit riders here. Downstaters overwhelmingly oppose subsidization of Chicagoland transit. And too many otherwise moderate and sensible people have been put off by the constant drag of corruption and waste to make an informed opinion on the matter.

So let's see if the state can come up with a solution outside of a capital funding bill (maybe they can solve the union problem). Let's see if Daley can bring together private donors for something less--ahem--aspirational than the Olympics.

If this problem isn't fixed, there are going to be serious problems.
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  #5847  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2009, 9:53 PM
emathias emathias is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VivaLFuego View Post
Preliminary 2010 budget posted here:
http://www.transitchicago.com/assets...budgetbook.pdf
...
The budget is well-prepared. Fewest typos I've seen in a CTA document in a while.

A few comments and questions:

1) LA's bus costs are the best in the nation, by a wide margin - why is that?

2) Looking at the CTA's rail costs, we have the lowest per-car and per-mile costs, but among the highest per-passenger costs. This tell me two things:
a) The CTA would greatly benefit from distance or zone-based fares. This only makes sense considering how long our lines are (and getting longer) compared to most cities.
b) The City REALLY needs to bolster TOD-friendly zoning. When your per-miles costs are low and your per-rider costs are high, it's because you're moving a lot fewer people - the best way to move more people, is to put more people by the train, which is what TOD-friendly zoning will do.
c) A bonus third thing as a comment: If zone-based fares were implemented, I bet the focus of new rail would shift overnight from extending outer lines to building inner lines, which is really the most sensible thing for the city to be doing anyway. Win-win - more revenue and better, more rational focus.
3) Unions at many other companies have chosen to freeze their salary, or even cut their salary, so that fewer jobs are elimintated. This budget makes a pretty stark case that over 10% of CTA union jobs will be cut, partly due to the drop in sales tax revenue, but also due in part to those who keep their jobs getting pay bumps that are well above average wage increases, well above inflation, and well above cost of living increases. Seems to me spinning a revote on the contract as a way to save their brothers' jobs should be a part of CTA management's strategy.
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  #5848  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2009, 10:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VivaLFuego View Post
I will note that the CTA unions, which account for 90% of the annual labor expenditure (labor being 68% of the total budget), are getting a 3.5% raise in 2010 after getting 3% in 2009.

Right off the bat, forgoing the 2010 raise would save somewhere on the order of $30 million, to say nothing of any other potential concessions.
I'm sorry, but screw the union's contract. So many other people in both the public and private sector are forced to take furlough days, unpaid holidays, pay freezes, pay cuts or reduced hours and declining benefits; or they are losing their job outright. And yet these people get a 6.5% pay increase over the span of two years in the worst recession since the Great Depression? Screw them, what the hell makes them so special. I know $30 million is drop in the bucket in terms of needed funds, but this really pisses me off, and this is comming from a generally pro-union guy.

This is also clear example of why being so over reliant on sales tax revenue is unsustainable. We really need a dedicated source of funds that is not so volatile. This also should be a rallying cry for better land use strategies, we can no longer afford to undermine our transit system with crap planning and oversight, like building strip malls next to stations. Any community that refuses to increase density near stations or bus routes should be the first locations on the chopping block for service cuts.

Last edited by Chicago Shawn; Oct 12, 2009 at 10:10 PM.
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  #5849  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2009, 10:34 PM
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From the CTA report:

Total projected CTA ridership in 2009 includes approximately 73 million free rides for
seniors, active military personnel, disabled veterans and individuals under Illinois’ lowincome
Circuit Breaker Program. This is an increase of 22.6 million (98.7%) over 2008
free rides for these groups. In 2008, free rides account for over $30 million in lost revenue; in 2009, due to the significant projected increase in free rides, lost revenue will be considerably higher.


Thanks, Blago! So, combine this with the union pay increases and we have $60+ million in additional opperational funds that could have gone to plugging the opperating deficit.
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  #5850  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2009, 10:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emathias View Post
A bonus third thing as a comment: If zone-based fares were implemented, I bet the focus of new rail would shift overnight from extending outer lines to building inner lines, which is really the most sensible thing for the city to be doing anyway. Win-win - more revenue and better, more rational focus.[/INDENT]
Yes, because DC has focused their rail growth in the inner-city in recent years...

Distance-based fares aren't a bad idea, but what rate do you keep them at? It discourages support for transit in outlying areas of the city (despite the huge rail system, the lines stay largely within city borders, serving only 6 suburbs). Without that support, politicians will be more reluctant to push for transit expansion.

There's also a substantial capital cost in implementing distance-based fares, since you have to install readers at all exits as well as entrances.
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  #5851  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2009, 12:58 AM
ChicagoChicago ChicagoChicago is offline
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Looking at that budget, it is criminal what the CTA locked in as its fuel cost for 2009. $4.43 a gallon comes out to just 20 cents a gallon under the all time high in July 2008 and a full $2.00 higher than it's current rate. Why in the HELL would they negotiate a fuel contract during summer months when fuel prices are naturally higher?

When is Springfield going to get off their asses and drop this free rides bullshit. There should be a clause in there that forces these stupid politicians to personally come up with the differance that the free rides cost. After all, they're buying votes, they might as well pay for them.

Are the union payraises guaranteed by law?
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  #5852  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2009, 12:58 AM
emathias emathias is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
Yes, because DC has focused their rail growth in the inner-city in recent years...

Distance-based fares aren't a bad idea, but what rate do you keep them at? It discourages support for transit in outlying areas of the city (despite the huge rail system, the lines stay largely within city borders, serving only 6 suburbs). Without that support, politicians will be more reluctant to push for transit expansion.

There's also a substantial capital cost in implementing distance-based fares, since you have to install readers at all exits as well as entrances.
Of course there's a substantial expense involved, but:

1) It's only fair that those travelling farther pay more, and

2) Capital expenses come from a different budget.

As for support, if politicians will only support rail in their own back yard, then it's being sold to them (and the public) using the wrong arguments. If a rail system that maintains a its present form and adds only in a more compact scope costs less per rider, enabling better overall transit at the periphery, then that is how you sell it. You want people to be able to reach as many places as possible in a metro area via transit. But you don't want to encourage frivilous long-distance travel through irrational pricing, either. Extra cost for express buses, and for longer rail rides, is fair to riders and just good business. Setting fares so that most trips are, say $2, short trips are $1, and long trips are up to $5 is fair and encourage good use. Regardless of the capital cost, getting transit right so that it becomes a natural part of living in Chicago is worth the investment.

About D.C.: Chicago would be refocusing an existing system, D.C. is still in their build-out phase.
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  #5853  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2009, 1:06 AM
emathias emathias is offline
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...
Are the union payraises guaranteed by law?
Basically. It's in their contract, so it's guaranteed by contract law. Of course contracts can be rewritten with the consent of both parties.
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  #5854  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2009, 1:11 AM
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Originally Posted by emathias View Post
Basically. It's in their contract, so it's guaranteed by contract law. Of course contracts can be rewritten with the consent of both parties.
Ok, I'm still learning about this state's messed up union contracts. I know some of the union's contracts need the state's constitution to be amended in order to change, so I wasn't sure if that included the CTA.
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  #5855  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2009, 4:21 AM
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I know some of the union's contracts need the state's constitution to be amended in order to change, so I wasn't sure if that included the CTA.
You're probably referring to pension benefits being guaranteed by the constitution. This provision makes sense if you think about it, since otherwise the retirement benefits would effectively be meaningless. Anything not protected constitutionally will be taken by a politician placating the mob at one point or another.

And no, a labor contract cannot be modified without the consent of both parties. If I'm not mistaken, that's actually a U.S. Constitution issue - nothing to do with Illinois in particular.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Contracts Clause of US Constitution
No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.
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  #5856  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2009, 4:24 AM
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Originally Posted by emathias View Post
1) LA's bus costs are the best in the nation, by a wide margin - why is that?
The relevant stat here is the cost per service hour, since time is the only constant between cities for practical purposes. LA has longer trip lengths, wider stop spacing, and higher average speeds than Chicago, and Chicago has higher in all of the above than does New York, a function of the built environment rather than the agency. On a per hour basis, you can see that most agencies are in the same range, except for NYCTA (where the union contracts are so cushy it makes CTA look like Dickensian London) and WMATA.

Quote:
The CTA would greatly benefit from distance or zone-based fares. This only makes sense considering how long our lines are (and getting longer) compared to most cities.
In an ironic reversal from the 1979 snowstorm debacle, people making longer CTA trips are now of lower income than those making short trips. While I don't disagree with your logic, distance-based fares are a total non-starter from a Title VI/Environmental Justice/Social Standpoint, not even getting into the tens of millions in capital costs involved before such a system could be operationalized. While you and I could make convincing arguments to each other, I doubt we'd have a good response in the papers when someone asks why we want to charge the poor working single mother traveling from 95th to O'Hare overnight $5 but only charge Old Town yuppies $1.75. Beyond that, the Feds probably wouldn't even allow it for that reason, since any change has to be considered based on it's impact on certain protected classes. Since WMATA was built with distance-based fares, it doesn't face the same burden of proof to continue an existing system versus switching to a new one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChicagoChicago View Post
Are the union payraises guaranteed by law?
It's in a contract, so it's legally enforcable, yes. CTA's current union agreements were made via binding arbitration, i.e. CTA management didn't agree to them but rather the terms were forced down their throats by a labor arbitrator. At the same time as the most recent contract went into effect, "doomsday" was dramatically accelerated because of an immediately skyrocketing unfunded retirement benefit liability that required ever increasing employer contributions.
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  #5857  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2009, 5:55 AM
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Yikes. Do you guys expect these fare hikes, reductions to go through?
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  #5858  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2009, 6:38 AM
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Originally Posted by VivaLFuego View Post
In an ironic reversal from the 1979 snowstorm debacle, people making longer CTA trips are now of lower income than those making short trips. While I don't disagree with your logic, distance-based fares are a total non-starter from a Title VI/Environmental Justice/Social Standpoint, not even getting into the tens of millions in capital costs involved before such a system could be operationalized. While you and I could make convincing arguments to each other, I doubt we'd have a good response in the papers when someone asks why we want to charge the poor working single mother traveling from 95th to O'Hare overnight $5 but only charge Old Town yuppies $1.75. Beyond that, the Feds probably wouldn't even allow it for that reason, since any change has to be considered based on it's impact on certain protected classes. Since WMATA was built with distance-based fares, it doesn't face the same burden of proof to continue an existing system versus switching to a new one.
What about peak-period fare increases? It can be done with little to no additional capital cost, since it still only requires the farecard to be swiped once. They just need to have a clock in the farebox, which IIRC is already installed and shows up on the little LED screen.

If, as you seemed to indicate, a large percentage of low-income riders are traveling at off-peak times, then the peak-period increases would affect largely middle-class and upper-class commuters who work a 9-5. They'd grumble, of course, but it's better than an across the board raise, because the alternative options suck during AM and PM rush hour. The roads are clogged and taxis are occupied. It would also avoid the problem of decreasing the off-peak ridership, and it wouldn't discourage people from using transit for socialization or running errands any more than the current pricing does.

Although SSP posters are hardly representative of the average CTA rider, I see many of the above comments where people talk about taking a cab when they go out at night, but few people threatening to start driving to work or taking a daily cab ride to work. The only cost-effective alternative to a peak-period CTA commute to downtown is a carpool, but that means a big loss of personal freedom to arrive and leave work when one chooses.

I'm not sure how it would work regarding passes. Either pass prices would have to increase dramatically, or CTA would have to sell two different types of passes for each price level. Buses, which provide non-downtown-centric service, may have a greater proportion of low-income riders during peak periods, so the strategy would have to shift on buses.
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Last edited by ardecila; Oct 13, 2009 at 6:48 AM.
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  #5859  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2009, 2:23 PM
whyhuhwhy whyhuhwhy is offline
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Originally Posted by VivaLFuego View Post
The relevant stat here is the cost per service hour, since time is the only constant between cities for practical purposes. LA has longer trip lengths, wider stop spacing, and higher average speeds than Chicago, and Chicago has higher in all of the above than does New York, a function of the built environment rather than the agency. On a per hour basis, you can see that most agencies are in the same range, except for NYCTA (where the union contracts are so cushy it makes CTA look like Dickensian London) and WMATA.
Which brings up a point I hear absolutely every bus rider complain about. Why on earth does the CTA have so many bus stops? There is literally a bus stop every BLOCK on most routes!

IMO this whole agency needs to be shaken up.
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  #5860  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2009, 2:23 PM
Nowhereman1280 Nowhereman1280 is offline
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And no, a labor contract cannot be modified without the consent of both parties. If I'm not mistaken, that's actually a U.S. Constitution issue - nothing to do with Illinois in particular.
Well, its not really protected by the clause you quoted. The clause you quoted essentially prohibits any individual state from acting in roles reserved for the federal government such as creating a currency or signing an international agreement.

The contracts are protected by one of the most over looked human rights; property rights. Contract law is almost entirely focused on protecting the rights of people to own property and make contracts. Property rights have been around so long (since the Magna Carta) that they are hardly mentioned in the constitution, but rather assumed. The only mentions of them in the constitution come when it prohibits the government from taking the property of citizens or from forcing them to house soldiers and things of that manner. From the basic right of property comes contract law where people are able to sign agreements on just about any property from their house to their work. The labor of the CTA Employees is considered their property (consideration) and thus this contract is protected indirectly by the US Constitution.

I don't know if that made sense, but that's where the protection of the contract comes from. Its mainly a long line of legal precedent that is derived from long before the US Constitution (though the US Constitution reinforced and enhanced these rights against the transgressions that the founders of our nation experienced under British rule).
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