WBEZ | public transportation http://www.wbez.org/tags/public-transportation Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Like Millennials, More Older Americans Steering Away From Driving http://www.wbez.org/news/millennials-more-older-americans-steering-away-driving-114809 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/594830977-47edb03ad5a30e956497a3e9db74c33e0d704fe2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A growing number of Americans are driving less and getting rid of their cars.</p><p>The trend is gaining traction in middle-aged adults, to the point where fewer of them are even bothering to get or renew their driver&#39;s licenses, but it&#39;s been prominent among younger adults &mdash; millennials &mdash; for years now.</p><p>&quot;Honestly, at this point, it just doesn&#39;t really seem worth it,&quot; says 25-year-old Peter Rebecca, who doesn&#39;t own a car or have a driver&#39;s license. &quot;I mean, I live in Chicago, there&#39;s really good access to, you know, public transits for pretty cheap.&quot;</p><p>The student at Harold Washington College downtown lives just a couple of blocks from a rail stop on the Northwest side. In the warmer months, Rebecca says, he uses a bike.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;ve got a bunch of grocery stores in walking distance, and even then I can use the bus if I have to get further,&quot; he says.</p><p>Rebecca is hardly alone, especially among young adults in urban areas.</p><p>&quot;Over the past several decades, particularly for the youngest age groups, there&#39;s been a pretty large decrease in the number of people who have been getting driver&#39;s licenses,&quot; says Brandon Schoettle, a researcher at the University of Michigan.</p><p>He led&nbsp;<a href="http://www.umich.edu/~umtriswt/PDF/UMTRI-2016-4_Abstract_English.pdf">a new study published&nbsp;</a>by University of Michigan&#39;s Transportation Research Institute that studied the proportion of people with driver&#39;s licenses over the years.</p><p>According to the study, only 69 percent of 19-year-olds have a driver&#39;s license in 2014, compared with almost 90 percent in 1983. The percentage of 20-somethings with driver&#39;s licenses has also fallen by 13 percent over the past three decades, and fewer Americans in their 30s and 40s now have driver&#39;s licenses.</p><div id="res466332451"><div id="responsive-embed-drivers-licenses-20160210"><iframe frameborder="0" height="829px" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" src="http://apps.npr.org/dailygraphics/graphics/drivers-licenses-20160210/child.html?initialWidth=774&amp;childId=responsive-embed-drivers-licenses-20160210&amp;parentUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.npr.org%2F2016%2F02%2F11%2F466178523%2Flike-millennials-more-older-americans-steering-away-from-driving%3Fft%3Dnprml%26f%3D466178523" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border-width: 0px; border-style: initial; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;" width="620px"></iframe></div></div><p>Susan Schell might soon be one of them. The manager of a Starbucks on Chicago&#39;s northwest side says her driver&#39;s license is up for renewal this month, yet she doesn&#39;t own a car.</p><p>&quot;I used to. I got rid of it just because it&#39;s too much of a pain in the butt to have in Chicago, and we kept getting tickets and I just didn&#39;t want to deal with it,&quot; Schell says.</p><p>In addition to living in a city that is relentless in doling out parking tickets, Schell says, there&#39;s the cost of insurance, gas and maintenance on top of the cost of the car itself. Her husband recently let his driver&#39;s license expire because they take public transit to work, and they have other options for shopping.</p><p>&quot;We use services like Instacart a lot,&quot; she says. &quot;... If we&#39;ve done, like, a big trip at Target or something, we just call an Uber. There&#39;s so many options when you live in a city.&quot;</p><p>&quot;For some of the oldest age groups, which had seen relatively large increases in licensing over the past few decades, finally seemed to have peaked and have started to show some small decreases in licensing,&quot; he says. &quot;And so, for the first time in the series of reports that we&#39;ve done, we&#39;ve kind of seen a decrease in the percentage of people with a license across all age groups.&quot;Schoettle says now this trend is not just limited to teenagers and those in their 20s.</p><p>Forty-eight-year-old Raul Chavez hasn&#39;t renewed his driver&#39;s license since it expired more than a year ago &mdash; and he keeps his car parked.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s quite a bit expensive, because you have to have insurance,&quot; he says. &quot;The latest two years, I use public transportation and I really enjoy it because it&#39;s cheap and it&#39;s reliable everywhere you&#39;re gonna go.&quot;</p><p>Schoettle says that&#39;s one of the main reasons more Americans of all ages are going without driver&#39;s licenses.</p><p>&quot;There&#39;s been a shift publicly for people to move to things like public transportation that just wasn&#39;t there back in the &#39;80s and &#39;90s, partly because there&#39;s sometimes better public transportation in certain areas than there was a few decades ago, and a little more concern about the environment,&quot; he says.</p><p>Schoettle says he&#39;ll be watching to see if cheaper gas might now reverse the trend.</p><p><a href="http://www.npr.org/2016/02/11/466178523/like-millennials-more-older-americans-steering-away-from-driving?ft=nprml&amp;f=466178523"><em>&mdash; via NPR</em></a></p></p> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 15:06:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/millennials-more-older-americans-steering-away-driving-114809 How do public transportation maps help fight climate change? http://www.wbez.org/news/how-do-public-transportation-maps-help-fight-climate-change-113776 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/4535321030_3374544a0f_o.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>One guy certainly thinks so. His name is Mark Ovenden. He&rsquo;s an expert in transit maps and the author of &ldquo;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Transit-Maps-World-Mark-Ovenden/dp/0143112651" target="_blank">Transit Maps of The World</a>.&rdquo; So he&rsquo;s a *little* biased. But after looking at his book, you can&rsquo;t help but agree.</p><p>It&rsquo;s a design history book that&rsquo;s brain candy. You keep flipping from page to page, looking at transit systems all across the globe.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div><img alt="The Beijing transit map." src="http://cdn1.pri.org/sites/default/files/styles/original_image/public/beijing.gif?itok=ZCDK3qoB" style="height: 488px; width: 620px;" title="The Beijing transit map. (City of Beijing)" typeof="foaf:Image" /><div><p>&nbsp;</p></div><div><p>The colors are amazing.</p></div></div><p>There&rsquo;s a uniform look. You can picture yourself traveling through the cities,&nbsp;or getting lost in Tokyo.</p><div><img alt="Transit map of Tokyo." src="http://cdn1.pri.org/sites/default/files/styles/original_image/public/ToktoMetroMap_en.gif?itok=PtwC2kUu" style="height: 438px; width: 620px;" title="Transit map of Tokyo. (City of Tokyo)" typeof="foaf:Image" /><div><p>These iconic displays of information have evolved in the last decade, and they&nbsp;show&nbsp;an important change.</p></div></div><p>&ldquo;Since we put the original book together more than a decade ago, there are so many more metro, light rail, streetcar, subway systems around the world,&rdquo; says Ovenden.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div><img alt="Transit map of Moscow. " src="http://cdn1.pri.org/sites/default/files/styles/original_image/public/moscow.gif?itok=jDdcc9ZU" style="height: 709px; width: 620px;" title="Transit map of Moscow. (City of Moscow)" typeof="foaf:Image" /><div><p>And all of this gets to the bold statement: transit maps fight climate change. Ovenden argues it this way. &ldquo;Obviously, anyone using public transport and not using their car is contributing to less pollution and helping save the planet,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;Good transit map design gets people to use a system, to recognize that it&rsquo;s a great system and it&rsquo;s easy to use.&rdquo;</p></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 13 Nov 2015 11:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/how-do-public-transportation-maps-help-fight-climate-change-113776 MPC aims to increase development along transit lines http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-07-27/mpc-aims-increase-development-along-transit-lines-112481 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/courtesy of metropolitan planning council.png" alt="" /><p><p>The &ldquo;If you build it they will come&rdquo; mentality doesn&rsquo;t just apply to baseball diamonds. More and more people want to live and work near public transit. Chicago&rsquo;s Metropolitan Planning Council argues that even though efforts to increase investment in development near public transit have picked up under mayor Rahm Emanuel, current regulations and financing tools limit the full potential for new construction. Chicago&rsquo;s MPC recently released a report as part of a new campaign to push for more Transit Oriented Development, or T.O.D. The report is called Grow Chicago and it details what&rsquo;s been happening and what still needs to be done. Peter Skosey is the agency&rsquo;s Executive Vice President and he&#39;s in studio with us to share more information.</p></p> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 12:49:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-07-27/mpc-aims-increase-development-along-transit-lines-112481 Morning Shift: Urban centers face big problems with transportation growth http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-12-03/morning-shift-urban-centers-face-big-problems <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Cover.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>An article in Salon argues that urban public transportation is doomed because politicians who could enact better policies don&#39;t use it. They drive or have drivers. How does metro Chicago&#39;s public transit fit into this theory? We discuss future train and bus expansion. (Flickr/Dan Klimke)</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-urban-centers-face-big-problems-with/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-urban-centers-face-big-problems-with.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-urban-centers-face-big-problems-with" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Urban centers face big problems with transportation growth" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Tue, 03 Dec 2013 08:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-12-03/morning-shift-urban-centers-face-big-problems I trust your truth http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-10/i-trust-your-truth-108972 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/4283808167_d6b4d204a7_z.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="(Flickr/Bart Heird)" /></div></div><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid--eb8a0a8-dc18-9a48-37f2-8589b298c2ca">&ldquo;I&rsquo;m not moving this bus until you stop playing that music,&quot; the bus driver said to a young Hispanic man last Saturday night. </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid--eb8a0a8-dc18-9a48-37f2-8589b298c2ca">I was riding the #50 Damen bus up to a performance at Martyrs. In the city, you are used to someone&rsquo;s cell phone speakers becoming a post-Millennium boom box. Loud music on public transportation is a familiar annoyance, one that I have gotten used to having grown up here. At first, you are startled by the intrusion, but quickly you forget it is even there. Still, it does not change the fact that it is an unnecessary nuisance akin to eating on public transportation. To live in a city is to assault the senses. If it is not the noise, it is the sights. If it is not the sights, it is the smells. </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid--eb8a0a8-dc18-9a48-37f2-8589b298c2ca">&quot;I&rsquo;m so sick of punks like </span>you playing <em>that</em> music,&rdquo; the bus driver said. By that point, he had stalled the bus and stepped out of his driving area.</p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid--eb8a0a8-dc18-9a48-37f2-8589b298c2ca">But the Hispanic man was not listening to music on his cell phone. He was texting or browsing or something else. He was looking down, going about his evening. He was like any other passenger on the bus, minding his own business. </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid--eb8a0a8-dc18-9a48-37f2-8589b298c2ca">No, the music came from two young white men. They were holding the phone up, looking at videos while their music blared, oblivious too of their surroundings. </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid--eb8a0a8-dc18-9a48-37f2-8589b298c2ca">And as the bus driver left his seat and faced the passengers, the two men quietly slipped their phones away and said nothing. It was a sly move and I do not begrudge them for doing so. If someone complains about the noise, the courteous thing to do is to put your phone away. If a situation escalates, it makes sense to defuse the tension. And when faced with potential confrontation, I understand their lack of nerve to name themselves as the culprit. </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid--eb8a0a8-dc18-9a48-37f2-8589b298c2ca">But should they have stepped in? Would you? </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid--eb8a0a8-dc18-9a48-37f2-8589b298c2ca">The driver began to yell at the Hispanic man first accused, who said, &ldquo;Yo man, that wasn&rsquo;t me.&rdquo; </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid--eb8a0a8-dc18-9a48-37f2-8589b298c2ca">And I chimed in. </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>&ldquo;It wasn&rsquo;t. It was them,&rdquo; I pointed to the two men. </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid--eb8a0a8-dc18-9a48-37f2-8589b298c2ca">And another black woman nodded her head and said, &ldquo;Yep,&rdquo; but the bus driver seemingly did not care.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid--eb8a0a8-dc18-9a48-37f2-8589b298c2ca">He looked back at the Hispanic man, glanced quickly at the two men and got back into his seat, as if nothing happened at all, as if he could not be bothered to know the truth. Or maybe he understood the truth, but could not be bothered to stomach an alternative to what he normally faces on the bus. The next time, he probably thought, the next time I will be right because I am always right, because this is how I see the world.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid--eb8a0a8-dc18-9a48-37f2-8589b298c2ca">Situations like this are difficult to parse. Did I actually see what I thought I just saw? Did I insert race into a situation that was not about race? My gut says no. My gut says a young man was accused of being the source of a public noise nuisance on the bus because he was a man of color.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid--eb8a0a8-dc18-9a48-37f2-8589b298c2ca">I first posted about this incident <a href="http://britticisms.tumblr.com/post/64600329328/im-not-moving-this-bus-until-you-stop-playing#captiontop" target="_blank">on my blog</a> and while most people were upset, one Tumblr user wrote, &ldquo;It was probably just a mistake and since the music had stopped he went back to drive the bus. I don&rsquo;t think it had anything to do with race.&rdquo;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid--eb8a0a8-dc18-9a48-37f2-8589b298c2ca">He was not a witness to what I saw, so his opinion is only based on what I said. But also, I was not inside the head of the bus driver. I do not know if he accused the man because he made an assumption based on the first cell phone he saw or the first man of color he saw.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid--eb8a0a8-dc18-9a48-37f2-8589b298c2ca">I have told friends and acquaintances about numerous racially-charged incidents in my own life. I&rsquo;ve told them about the mother forcing her two children out of the pool, the only other two children there, when my sister and I jumped in as little girls. </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t want you in there now,&rdquo; she said. </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>Was I jumping to conclusions? Was my own mother as she later recalled what happened? I&rsquo;ve talked about being called the n-word in Wicker Park as recently as 2009. I&rsquo;ve talked about being called &ldquo;hostile&rdquo; and &ldquo;angry&rdquo; for asking questions at jobs, even though other people who have actually yelled to others in the same setting were not accused of anything.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid--eb8a0a8-dc18-9a48-37f2-8589b298c2ca">Most people understand where I am coming from and perhaps can offer their own stories as well. But I have also been accused of causing trouble. I have been accused of seeing what is not there. It does not matter that these incidents have occurred only a handful of times, that I don&rsquo;t spend my life &ldquo;looking for racism&rdquo; in every interaction. It is difficult for others, particularly those with privilege, to see wrongs when they have occurred. If it does not affect them, how can it be real? If they do not see it every day, does it even happen at all?</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid--eb8a0a8-dc18-9a48-37f2-8589b298c2ca">I can speak to my own experiences as a woman. I can speak to my experiences as a black American. But there are lives I will never truly know or understand. There are experiences that I will never face because of my age or my sexuality or my class. But the privilege I have does not mean that I can not try to empathize. It does not mean that I can not listen to the things people tell me and observe the world around me and know that some things are more real than my scope of understanding. It does not mean that I can not trust others&#39; feelings or trust their truth. That is the least that I can do.&nbsp;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><em>Britt Julious writes about race and culture in and outside of Chicago. Follow Britt&#39;s essays for&nbsp;<a href="http://wbez.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">WBEZ&#39;s Tumblr</a>&nbsp;or on Twitter&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/britticisms" target="_blank">@britticisms</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 21 Oct 2013 13:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-10/i-trust-your-truth-108972 Ventra roll out to begin in August http://www.wbez.org/news/ventra-roll-out-begin-august-108222 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/cta.png" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Chicago commuters could be tapping their new <a href="http://www.transitchicago.com/ventra/">Ventra </a>cards on the bus or train as soon as early September, according to Chicago Transit Authority officials. The program will be first rolled out to public school students and universities with the U-Pass program in August, and the slow roll out will continue over the next few months.</p><p dir="ltr">The Ventra pass is a single fare card system that is being billed as an easy tap and go option for riders across both CTA and Pace transportation systems. Ventra users will also have the option to make cash withdrawals from ATM&rsquo;s around the area with their card.</p><p>Starting August 5th, the first U-Pass cards will begin arriving at select universities Rush Medical School, Westwood College of Technology and Northwestern University Law School. Transit officials say additional universities that are enrolled in the U-Pass program will get their cards later this month in time for the start of their fall semesters.</p><p>Chicago Card and Chicago Card Plus customers that have completed the proper address validation will begin receiving their cards in the mail around August 19th. As for Chicago Public Schools students, they&rsquo;ll get their cards during school orientation, so that they&rsquo;ll have Ventra set up for the first day of school on August 26th.</p><p>&ldquo;We wanted to gradually roll in waves of customers, because we&rsquo;re still testing the system and we&rsquo;re doing thousands of transactions weekly,&rdquo; said Tammy Chase, CTA spokeswoman.</p><p>Chase said the staggered roll out will give transit agencies the chance to jump in if any &ldquo;hiccups&rdquo; occur, rather than being inundated by switching the system over all at once.</p><p>As for everyone else, like faithful users of the magnetic stripe cards or day passes, Ventra will be available for purchase on September 9th. New Chicago cards will no longer be issued by September, but balances can be spent or transferred to Ventra. Chase said by December, the CTA and Pace will only accept Ventra. &nbsp;</p><p>The Ventra card will initially cost $5, which transit officials say will be refunded to the card for transit use once the card is registered online or by phone.</p><p><span id="docs-internal-guid-5cfd0be2-3018-4c93-0ef4-5fffb871b89e"><span style="font-size: 16px; font-family: Arial; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ&rsquo;s morning producer and Follow her</span><a href="http://twitter.com/triciabobeda" style="text-decoration:none;"><span style="font-size: 16px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> </span></a><a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian" style="text-decoration:none;"><span style="font-size: 16px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(17, 85, 204); text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">@laurenchooljian</span></a><span style="font-size: 16px; font-family: Arial; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">.</span></span></p></p> Mon, 29 Jul 2013 09:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/ventra-roll-out-begin-august-108222 South Red Line closures just around the corner http://www.wbez.org/news/south-red-line-closures-just-around-corner-107214 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/2721141923_d30f49ae31_b.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The South branch of the Red Line closes Sunday for five months while it undergoes renovation. Chicago Transit Authority officials say nine stops, also known as the Dan Ryan branch, are in desperate need of repair. The CTA will provide a few backup solutions for the more than 80,000 people who ride each weekday. Other groups like PACE, Metra - even the White Sox franchise - are also lending a hand.</p><p dir="ltr">Starting Sunday, service will be shut down between 95th/Dan Ryan and Cermak-Chinatown. According to CTA spokesman Brian Steele, construction crews will rip everything up -- like ties, rails and ballasts - and rebuild the tracks and all but one of the train stations. Steele says the 95th/Dan Ryan stop is scheduled to receive a separate facelift beginning in the first half of 2014.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Remember that the Red Line South opened in September of 1969, just two months after Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon,&rdquo; Steele said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s seen, literally, millions of train trips in that time, and has really served the CTA well.</p><p dir="ltr">Steele says the Red Line has been patched and fixed over the years, but it&rsquo;s to the point where the only way to ensure effective operation of the line is to completely rebuild it.</p><p dir="ltr">That&rsquo;s going to take some time - five months, to be exact. Steele says they looked at other options, like closing down only on the weekends, for example, but he says the five-month plan was the most efficient and cost-effective way to complete the project. Steele says once completed, the trackwork will provide faster and more reliable service.</p><p dir="ltr">To ease riders&rsquo; headaches, the CTA will provide a number of backup options. The CTA website has been upgraded with a <a href="http://www.transitchicago.com/news_initiatives/projects/redsouth/tripplanner.aspx">trip planner</a> that calculates rerouted directions for commuters. CTA is also offering express buses from four of the closed Red Line stations (95th/Dan Ryan, 87th, 79th and 69th) that will go directly to the Green Line Garfield station. Steele said Green Line service and local bus routes will also provide additional service during peak times.</p><p dir="ltr">For riders who think Metra or Pace might be the best option, the three transit agencies are offering a joint fare pass. Riders can buy the cards at stores like CVS or Walgreens. They provide five days of unlimited rides on CTA/Pace and 10 rides on the Metra. The cost of the pass depends on which Metra zone the rider travels to and from.</p><p dir="ltr">According to Metra spokesman Michael Gillis, the agency isn&rsquo;t expecting an influx of riders during the Red Line closures, but says there will certainly be a &ldquo;settling-in period&rdquo; as riders figure out which new route works best.</p><p dir="ltr">Even the <a href="http://mlb.mlb.com/cws/ticketing/groups/gsg/gsg.jsp?loc=soxcta">White Sox</a> are chipping in to help potentially disgruntled commuters, as the Sox/35th stop is one of the stops getting a makeover. The team is offering fans discounts on some tickets to the May 20th, 21st and 22nd games against the Boston Red Sox.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is WBEZ&rsquo;s Morning Producer/Reporter. Follow her<a href="http://twitter.com/triciabobeda"> </a><a href="http://www.twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a></em></p></p> Thu, 16 May 2013 15:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/south-red-line-closures-just-around-corner-107214 Illinois officials question new CTA payment system at a public hearing http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-officials-question-new-cta-payment-system-public-hearing-106424 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/CTAdebit_130402_acm.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The new CTA debit card system is causing a lot of concerns among riders.<br /><br />Members of the Illinois House Mass Transit Committee called a public hearing Monday to hear public concerns about additional fees associated with the card, which will be introduced this summer.<br /><br />Those fees include small charges for contacting customer service and statement requests.<br /><br />The new system is part of a CTA plan to update its current fare cards payment method and move towards a more advanced and unified transportation system.&nbsp;<br /><br />PACE has already joined the initiative but METRA officials said they are still evaluating some details.<br /><br />Committee chairman, State Rep. Deborah Mell said the debit card aspect of the new system is creating additional confusion. She said CTA officials tout the debit card component is an incentive for people to get the new Ventra card but &ldquo;there is no other option.&rdquo;&nbsp;<br /><br />In regards to the additional debit charges, CTA president Forrest Claypool said the basic use of the debit card won&rsquo;t have additional costs.<br /><br />&ldquo;All the main functions that many individuals use the card for, the typical options, the ones that are more common are free: direct deposit, making purchases, getting cash back on purchases,&rdquo; Claypool said.<br /><br />Some local agencies are also concerned about the 75 cent increase of single ride train tickets for people who don&rsquo;t use the debit card.</p><p>Liz Czarnecki is with Chicago Jobs Council, an organization that advocates on behalf of low income individuals seeking job opportunities.<br /><br />She says this is a problem for organizations who buy single ride train tickets in bulk to give to their clients when they have job interviews.<br /><br />&ldquo;It&rsquo;s going to be very logistically challenging for them to provide a Ventra card for all of its participants,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;They have many job seekers to whom they are working, so the actual disposable ticket it&rsquo;s more logistically feasible and that is going to have increased fees.&rdquo;<br /><br />CTA is trying to address customer concerns before the card becomes available for use.</p><p>PACE and METRA officials were also invited to give updates on a new unified transportation payment system expected to take effect by 2015.&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 02 Apr 2013 10:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-officials-question-new-cta-payment-system-public-hearing-106424 Downtown Chicago bridge reopens to rail service http://www.wbez.org/news/downtown-chicago-bridge-reopens-rail-service-106013 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/flickr_helloturkeytoe.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Repair work on a major downtown Chicago bridge has finished its first phase, alleviating headaches for some commuters at least for now.</p><p>Chicago Transit Authority officials said Monday that service has resumed on its Brown and Purple lines over the 91-year-old Wells Street Bridge. It was halted for nine days since March 1 as crews worked to replace the southern portion of the bridge that runs over the Chicago River.</p><p>A second traffic detour is scheduled for April 26 through May 5. CTA officials will also do track work. Several train lines will be affected, including route changes. The bridge will remain closed to vehicle and pedestrian traffic through late this year.</p><p>City officials say the bridge has been in service since 1922.</p></p> Mon, 11 Mar 2013 09:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/downtown-chicago-bridge-reopens-rail-service-106013 More people using CTA http://www.wbez.org/story/more-people-using-cta-97261 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2012-March/2012-03-14/CTA accordion bus Flickr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-13/cta web flickr.jpg" style="width: 630px; height: 420px;" title="2011 ridership on CTA reached highest level in twenty years. (Flickr/CTA Web)"></p><p>Chicago Transit Authority ridership went up to 530 million boardings last year, reaching its highest ridership level since 1991.</p><p>Rail ridership grew by 5.2 percent compared to an increase of 1.4 percent in bus usage. The Blue and Brown Lines saw the greatest share of the increase with nearly 6 million more riders.</p><p>“Part of it [the increase] is obviously factors outside our control like rising gas prices,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool. But Claypool also attributes the increase to “improvements we’ve made to provide a safer and more clean and customer friendly experience,” said Claypool.</p><p>With increased ridership, Claypool expects there will be a more urgent need for infracstructure improvements. Claypool said there are plans in place to improve stations on the Howard branch of the Red Line and a reconstruction of the tracks along the Dan Ryan Branch. The CTA also plans to begin replacing older series buses this year.</p><p>Claypool said the improvements may lead to some delays.</p><p>"It may require inconveniences, but in the long run you’ll have faster trains. You’ll have better service overall.” he said.</p></p> Tue, 13 Mar 2012 23:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/more-people-using-cta-97261