Compromise needed to avoid CTA meltdown

By Editorial Board

Due to an ongoing budget shortfall, the Chicago Transit Authority plans to decrease service starting Feb. 7 on bus and train routes, in order to avoid raising fares. According to the CTA, nine express bus routes will be eliminated, buses and trains will run less frequently and some bus lines will start later in the morning and end earlier in the evening.

Express routes being cut include King Drive, Cottage Grove, Ashland, Washington/Madison, Western, South Pulaski Limited, Cicero, Garfield and Irving Park.

Although these cuts affect all Chicagoans who use public transportation, residents of lower-income neighborhoods on the South and West sides will be most affected by the express bus routes being cut. Six of the nine express routes being eliminated serve these areas of the city.

In the midst of these service cuts, the $530 million Brown Line renovation project is nearing completion. Although many of the updates made to the train line were needed, the CTA should have had the foresight to allocate more money for operating costs.

Another main factor in the budget crisis involves a standoff between managers and CTA union members. The union, which recently refused to give back this year’s 3.5 percent pay increase, now faces layoffs. However, according to a Jan. 20 Chicago Tribune article, since 1994, the number of bus garage managers at each facility has increased from five to 20. This “bloated” management structure is unnecessary and should be altered to run more efficiently.

Both CTA management and union workers should consider a compromise to benefit the entire city and avoid a serious breakdown in the transit system. As long as the conflict continues, the future of the CTA budget is up in the air.

Despite its budget woes, the CTA is doing one thing right. Its efforts to keep customers informed of the changes and provide technology services such as the CTA Bus Tracker are admirable and will make the transition to less frequent service easier to handle.