According to the Chicago Transit Authority website, 1.68 million Chicagoans rode the CTA on an average weekday in 2013, which may explain why a University of Southern California study published in December in the Journal of the American Planning Association found that the CTA triggered more mean tweets than the 10 other larg- est transit agencies in the world, the Internal Revenue Service and even the Kardashians.
Because the CTA received more hate tweets than all of the Kardashian family drama that happened last year alone, this either means we are basically riding on the most ass-inine—pun definitely intended—public transit system in the world, or our smelly morning commutes are practically becoming celebrity news.
The surplus of negative tweets could be attributed to the im- plementation of Ventra and the inconvenience it caused riders in the system’s early stages because the study looked at tweets dating back to as early as March 2011.
Although delays, reroutes and the looming unpleasant scent of the CTA is bothersome, 40 percent of the mean tweets were directed at other CTA passengers. Sure, the trains and buses are home to a wide array of characters, and instead of staring at them—because that is not polite—we tweet about it and we move on with our lives.
I have a love-hate relationship with Chicago’s public transportation system that I’m sure most Chicagoans share. I admit to tweeting at the CTA a couple of times asking them where my train was and telling them how much they were ruining my life. We have all been a little dramatic, right?
Today, if people have a problem regarding any service, they have the power to make their opinion heard through social media. Some companies respond faster to complaints on social media than they do through customer service hotlines or online submission forms. Word of mouth—especially on social media—can make or break a company if it is retweeted or favorited enough times.
Although Chicagoans rely on the CTA so much that the company would never really suffer from a couple million hate tweets, I’m sure the company takes their riders’ opinions into consideration when they work to enhance the CTA.
The CTA has announced some exciting updates to be made to the system including station renova- tions and even a $32.5 million deal to roll out 4G wireless coverage throughout subway stations and tunnels, making Chicago the largest subway system to have 4G coverage in the U.S., according to a Jan. 30 mayoral press release. This eliminates even more frustration over not being able to tweet trash talk the CTA while on the CTA.