WBEZ | CTA http://www.wbez.org/tags/cta Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Morning Shift: How Jane Byrne changed the face of Chicago politics http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2014-11-17/morning-shift-how-jane-byrne-changed-face-chicago-politics-111108 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/DennyCJohnson.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Ald. Ameya Pawar talks about his efforts to bring back the CTA No. 11 bus. Plus, we hear music from The Appleseed Collective. And, we remember the life and legacy of former Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-how-jane-byrne-changed-chicago-forev/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-how-jane-byrne-changed-chicago-forev.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-how-jane-byrne-changed-chicago-forev" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: How Jane Byrne changed the face of Chicago politics " on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Mon, 17 Nov 2014 08:06:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2014-11-17/morning-shift-how-jane-byrne-changed-face-chicago-politics-111108 Why buses arrive in bunches http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/why-buses-arrive-bunches-110941 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/172338843&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>It&rsquo;s a situation that plays out every day in Chicago. Riders show up at a bus stop, and the bus doesn&#39;t show up on time. Then all at once, two appear together.</p><p>The phenomenon is called bus bunching. Corrin Pitluck noticed it often while riding and driving around Chicago, so she put this question to Curious City:</p><p><em>I&rsquo;m interested to know about the urban physics involved in bus bunching, how it happens. I&rsquo;d also like to get drivers&rsquo; perspectives on how they feel about it and how they deal with it and what tools they have to unbunch their buses.</em></p><p>Most CTA bus riders have been frustrated by bunching at least once, but it&rsquo;s not just a problem for them. Bunching is a symptom of a bus system that&rsquo;s not running efficiently, and that creates more street traffic for everyone: bus riders, car drivers and bikers, too.</p><p>And don&rsquo;t be fooled that bunching is simple to combat. Not only is the problem practically inevitable, short-term fixes can sometimes make bus riders feel worse.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">A typical scenario</span></p><p>We watched bus bunching play out on a recent weekday morning at the 66 Chicago bus stop at Chicago and Milwaukee avenues.</p><p>Passengers getting off the Blue Line at Chicago waited for buses downtown, while bus riders worked to get off and board the &ldquo;L.&rdquo; Both groups converged at the bus stop, leaving bus drivers to wait while each got where they were headed.</p><p>Meanwhile, three 66 Chicago buses all rolled east down Chicago toward the stop together.</p><p>&ldquo;Oh, don&rsquo;t get me started,&rdquo; Matt Zachar said while waiting for a bus to arrive. &ldquo;It is inconceivable. I don&rsquo;t understand why one can&rsquo;t just wait and be on schedule like he&rsquo;s supposed to.&rdquo;</p><p>Many riders feel just like Zachar, unable to figure out how two, three or more buses can even be in the same place at once. Bus bunching is ninth on the Chicago Transit Authority complaint list, the subject of around 2 percent of all calls. It seems like there should be something the Chicago Transit Authority can do to keep the buses on schedule.</p><p>That&rsquo;s not always the case, though, according to University of Chicago Professor Donald Eisenstein.</p><p>Eisenstein studies self-organizing systems, like workers in a production line. As a system, buses by design are set up to bunch.</p><p>&ldquo;A bus system by nature has bad dynamics,&rdquo; Eisenstein said. &ldquo;Left on its own, buses will bunch.&rdquo;</p><p>Big gaps between buses, he said, will get bigger, while small gaps will shrink. This reality makes it almost impossible to eliminate bunching on a route unless there&rsquo;s a lot of time between buses.</p><p>&ldquo;Zero isn&rsquo;t a possibility,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;The natural dynamics fight against you. I don&rsquo;t think you&rsquo;ll ever get zero bus bunching, so your goal is to reduce it as much as possible.&rdquo;</p><p><a name="slideshow"></a><iframe frameborder="0" height="450" scrolling="no" src="http://interactive.wbez.org/curiouscity/bus-bunching" width="620"></iframe></p><p><em><a href="http://interactive.wbez.org/curiouscity/bus-bunching/">Click here for a full screen and shareable version</a>&nbsp;</em></p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">&#39;At the mercy of the street&#39;</span></p><p>Mike Connelly, the CTA&rsquo;s vice president of planning, said bus bunching isn&rsquo;t a major issue for the agency. According to CTA performance metrics, only around 3 percent of bus trips experience bunching, which the agency defines as a gap of less than 60 seconds between buses at a stop.</p><p>Of course that percentage is greater during morning and evening commutes, as well as along the busiest routes. Still, for Connelly, bus bunching is a smaller part of making sure the buses are on time and consistent.</p><p>&ldquo;Though everyone may be affected at some point, we feel that it&rsquo;s something we work at and that we have a very high standard for [being] unbunched,&rdquo; Connelly said.<a name="routes"></a></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="320" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="http://cf.datawrapper.de/Z5XAO/2/" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="620"></iframe></p><p>The main way the CTA tries to combat bunching is scheduling. Each bus is equipped with a GPS tracker, and four times a year the CTA analyses the data to see if there&rsquo;s a more efficient way to run the buses.</p><p>Next, buses are monitored and controlled at key spots on the route, called terminal points. A street supervisor can speed up or hold a bus back to make sure it leaves that point on time and with enough space between it and the bus in front.</p><p>From there, &ldquo;we&rsquo;re at the mercy of the street,&rdquo; Connelly said. There are a few go-to methods, but each comes with a cost: financial costs to the CTA or potential to frustrate bus riders.</p><blockquote><p><a href="#slideshow"><strong>Check out our visual explanation of bus bunching to learn more about how CTA tries to stop bunches</strong></a></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:22px;">A driver&rsquo;s view</span></p><p>The CTA&rsquo;s job is complicated by us, the riders, who need to go to a specific point and in a predictable way, so buses can&rsquo;t always go the fastest or easiest way possible.</p><p>&ldquo;For us, the bottom line is that we carry people, so the people have to be our bottom-line,&rdquo; Connelly said. &ldquo;If we were UPS, where you load the boxes and we go, we could make a choice not to deliver down this street at 9 a.m., because there is something going on this street and we could come back at 2 in the afternoon. That&rsquo;s not our choice. Our choice is that there are people waiting at the stop and we&rsquo;re going to go pick them up.&rdquo;</p><p>While bunching can be an annoyance for riders, it&rsquo;s even more stressful for the drivers themselves.</p><p>Michael Toomey is an 11-year CTA veteran and current bus operator on the 77 Belmont route. He said the main thing he wished customers understood was how the smallest disturbances on the street can lead to big delays on his route.</p><p>&ldquo;[It&rsquo;s] minor factors most people wouldn&rsquo;t notice, like a double parked car that I get stuck behind and the bus behind me comes straight through,&rdquo; Toomey said. &ldquo;So if I become two minutes late on a route that runs every four minutes, that&rsquo;s the same as being 15 minutes late on a route that runs every 30 minutes. I get more stress knowing I&rsquo;m two minutes behind schedule and the next bus is scheduled four minutes back, which means I&rsquo;ve got twice as many people to pick up.&rdquo;</p><p>Drivers can do a few things on their own to stop bus bunching, such as leapfrogging the driver in front of them or skipping unneeded stops. On larger problems they coordinate moves with the control center and street supervisors.</p><p>&ldquo;If I see my coworker in front of me, he has a standing load, I pull up and say &lsquo;Come on, you guys. I&rsquo;ve got room&rsquo; and we work together,&rdquo; Toomey said.</p><p>Though Toomey can spot many bunches starting &mdash; he knows how much time an extra load from the Belmont &lsquo;L&rsquo; stop will add, for example &mdash; he sometimes gets as mystified as riders.</p><p>&ldquo;Some days it&rsquo;s wide open, the next it&rsquo;s bumper to bumper stopped,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s something we as operators ask, too. We&rsquo;re throwing our hands up, expecting something major, and there&rsquo;s not.&rdquo;</p><p>Toomey said he wished customers could see the bunching and delays from his eyes, as a problem they share.</p><p>&ldquo;I rode the bus for years, so I&rsquo;ve seen both sides,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I wish more people had the opportunities to experience it firsthand, because if people could actually see what was happening behind the scenes they&rsquo;d be more understanding.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Now we have an answer. Who asked the question?</span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/corrinpitluck.jpg" style="height: 201px; width: 280px; float: left;" title="Corrin Pitluck asked Curious City about how bus bunching works. (Chris Hagan/WBEZ)" />Our question-asker, Corrin Pitluck, takes a lot of trips from her Logan Square home with her kids, heading to school or visiting friends. Both as a CTA bus rider and a car driver, she&rsquo;s been fascinated by bus bunching.</p><p>&ldquo;I might be waiting for a bus and it&rsquo;s clear two buses are coming up, or might be driving and making a right turn and trying to be a good citizen and not turn in front of a bus, but waiting back there a ways behind a queue of buses,&rdquo; Pitluck said.</p><p>Growing up in New Jersey and Southern California, she&rsquo;s seen lots of different types of public transportation, and she&rsquo;s seen how easy it is for a bunch to form.</p><p>&ldquo;I have wondered and shook my fist at this bunching problem for decades now.&rdquo;</p><p>We love that she took this empathic element so seriously. It prompted us to speak with driver Michael Toomey and convey the gist to her.</p><p>She was just as shocked as we were when Toomey told a story of a seven-bus bunch he was involved in early in his career at the intersection of Cicero and Chicago. Utility work and an accident shut down all but one lane, and it took him more than a half hour to go one block.</p><p>&ldquo;Oh my gosh, that&rsquo;s unbelievable!&rdquo; Pitluck said.</p><p>Pitluck said the experience helped her understand the position of drivers and the difficulties they face on the road.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s a lot that&rsquo;s out of their hands,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;They have some tools but they&rsquo;re kind of limited in dealing with this ... that buses bunch.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Chris Hagan is a web producer and data reporter at WBEZ. Find him on twitter </em><a href="https://twitter.com/chrishagan"><em>@chrishagan</em></a><em>.</em></p></p> Wed, 15 Oct 2014 15:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/why-buses-arrive-bunches-110941 Meet the CTA's super-friendly conductor http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/meet-ctas-super-friendly-conductor-110466 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/157991456&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false; show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><em>Editor&rsquo;s note: The podcast episode available above includes two stories. The first looks at <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/passing-through-chicagos-union-station-amish-transit-hub-110453" target="_blank">why Chicago is a transit hub for the Amish</a>. The profile of CTA conductor Michael Powell begins at 7 minutes, 36 seconds.</em></p><p>The idea for Caroline Eichler&rsquo;s Curious City question first came to her in 2011, shortly after she had finished college and first arrived in Chicago. She didn&rsquo;t know anyone except her roommates and co-workers. &ldquo;And this is the first city I&rsquo;ve ever lived in, too,&rdquo; she says. It&rsquo;s little wonder that she felt &mdash; by her own admission &mdash; &ldquo;pretty terrified and overwhelmed.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p>One of the first people Caroline came to recognize in the city was the voice of a certain chatty train conductor during her commute on the CTA&rsquo;s Red Line from Rogers Park to the Jackson stop downtown. She remembers the conductor reminding passengers to grab their umbrellas if it was raining, or he&rsquo;d jokingly advise passengers to take their children with them when they left the train. &ldquo;One time he said &lsquo;May the force be with you.&rsquo; That really cracked me up,&rdquo; she says. Since Caroline only knew a handful of people in the city, even the more reserved announcements such as &ldquo;I hope you&rsquo;re having a great day!&rdquo; were really nice, she says.</p><p>All of this interest in a comforting voice led Caroline to send us this question:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>Who is the super-friendly train conductor on the Red Line?</em></p><p>While tracking down an answer, we learned that the man behind the kind words used the daily commute to comfort himself, too.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">&lsquo;I just started talking&rsquo;</span></p><p>The conductor is Michael Powell, who began working for the CTA in 1978. Getting a job with the CTA was &ldquo;like a dream come true,&rdquo; Powell says. He&rsquo;s always loved trains, and he even had toy trains when he was growing up.</p><p>Talking over the train&rsquo;s PA system came naturally to Powell. &ldquo;I just started talking,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s spur of the moment, I really don&rsquo;t rehearse them. If it feels like I can say something silly or something half-serious, I&rsquo;ll say it.&rdquo;</p><p>Powell is not shy about sharing difficulties he had early in life. The oldest of four children, Powell says his mother &ldquo;had a rough time raising four children, not having a college degree or any education formally.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;I could never make her happy,&rdquo; Powell remembers. &ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t like myself because I didn&rsquo;t get any compliments.&rdquo; Eventually Powell went to counseling. &ldquo;I just had to get over my fear or rejection, I think that&rsquo;s everybody&rsquo;s problem,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;When I started getting attention from the train it was like: Hey, I&rsquo;m getting the love or the attention that I didn&rsquo;t have growing up.&rdquo;</p><p>Powell&rsquo;s philosophy about relating to the passengers is straightforward. &ldquo;I just try to make everybody feel good,&rdquo; he says. Knowing people aren&rsquo;t always happy to be on their way to work, he would sometimes give a morning pep talk. &ldquo;Some people feel like they&rsquo;re down in the dumps. They&rsquo;re like &lsquo;Wow-wee, I had to come to work today.&rsquo; And I sometimes say, Yeah, you know, it would be nice to stay home today, but we have to work. What&rsquo;s for dinner tonight? Make sure you have everything with you! Just, you know, look on the bright side of life,&rdquo; he says.</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/MichaelPowell%20for%20WEB.jpg" title="Michael Powell, a CTA conductor for 36 years, was known by commuters for his cheerful quips. (Photo courtesy Katie Klocksin)" /></p><p>Over the years Powell has made an impact on his passengers, and he&rsquo;s been written about many times. When I first introduce him to Caroline, he presents a large binder full of his press clippings, print-outs of mostly-positive comment threads on articles featuring him, cards passengers had sent him, and comments people sent to the CTA. Caroline says she&rsquo;s impressed with how much Michael&rsquo;s comments resonated with people &mdash; enough that many people actually wrote to the CTA with positive feedback.</p><p>&ldquo;He brings out a good side of Chicago,&rdquo; she says.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">End of an era</span></p><p>Fans of Powell and his conversational style as a train conductor may be disappointed to learn that he retired at the end of 2013. He still spends time with a group of friends he calls &ldquo;train club.&rdquo; They get together once a week for breakfast, and they also run model trains and watch train movies together. Michael also became a grandfather this May. He misses seeing his passengers every day, &ldquo;yet it&rsquo;s nice to be a grandfather. It&rsquo;s nice to spend more time at home,&rdquo; he says.</p><p>Caroline asked Powell if he had a fantasy train he&rsquo;d like to drive. &nbsp;&ldquo;Not really,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;I feel like I&rsquo;ve done enough driving in my life. Let someone else do the driving.&rdquo;</p><p>As their time together ends, Caroline tells him: &ldquo;The Red Line community of train riders will miss you.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ll miss them too,&rdquo; he replies. &ldquo;I had fun.&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Caroline%20Re-Touch%20for%20WEB.jpg" style="float: left; height: 242px; width: 200px;" title="Caroline Eichler, who asked about the super-friendly Red Line conductor. (Photo courtesy Caroline Eichler)" /><span style="font-size:22px;">Our question comes from: Caroline Eichler</span></p><p>Caroline Eichler moved to Chicago in 2011, after graduating from Kenyon College. She quickly noticed Michael Powell&rsquo;s distinctive style on the Red Line&rsquo;s train announcements.</p><p>&ldquo;He was one of the first people in city I&rsquo;d recognize,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t even see him, I would just would know he was there from his voice.&rdquo;</p><p>Powell was a topic of conversation among her roommates as well. They would text each other when they caught Powell&rsquo;s train on their morning or evening commutes. &ldquo;I think I&rsquo;m the most excited about it, but we&rsquo;re all in on it together,&rdquo; Caroline says.</p><p>After three years, Caroline is more settled in the city; she&rsquo;s involved in several musical endeavors, including working as the Music Librarian for the <a href="http://cso.org/Institute/CivicOrchestra/Default.aspx" target="_blank">Civic Orchestra of Chicago</a>. She&rsquo;s also a violinist, and she sings with the vocal ensemble <a href="http://www.lacaccina.com/" target="_blank">La Caccina</a>.</p><p><em>A <a href="http://chirpradio.org/podcasts/person-of-interest-michael-powell" target="_blank">version of this story </a>originally aired on ChirpRadio.org. Katie Klocksin is a freelance radio producer. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/KatieKlocksin" target="_blank">@KatieKlocksin</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 09 Jul 2014 12:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/meet-ctas-super-friendly-conductor-110466 Morning Shift: CTA revisions creates debate in Chicago's transportation system http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-06-27/morning-shift-cta-revisions-creates-debate-chicagos <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Zolk.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We talk about the many modes of transit with the head of Chicago&#39;s Department of Transportation. And we look at whether bike lanes should be expanded. Then later, we chat with the director of the new documentary,The Internet&#39;s Own Boy.</p><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-chicago-offers-new-change-in-its-tra/embed?header=false&border=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-chicago-offers-new-change-in-its-tra.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-chicago-offers-new-change-in-its-tra" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: CTA revisions creates debate in Chicago's transportation system " on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Fri, 27 Jun 2014 08:11:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-06-27/morning-shift-cta-revisions-creates-debate-chicagos Morning Shift: The state of diversity on stage and screen http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-04-30/morning-shift-state-diversity-stage-and-screen-110104 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/White people on stage Flickr Lieven SOETE.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We look at new efforts aimed at bringing diversity into comedy. Plus, Governor Quinn selects new director for DCFS. And, a little reclaimed soul.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-state-of-diversity-on-stage-and/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-state-of-diversity-on-stage-and.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-state-of-diversity-on-stage-and" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: The state of diversity on stage and screen" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Wed, 30 Apr 2014 08:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-04-30/morning-shift-state-diversity-stage-and-screen-110104 Morning Shift: The awkward comedy of Craigslist http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-04-18/morning-shift-awkward-comedy-craigslist-110044 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Flickr hurleygurley.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We revisit the struggles of a small Indiana town through the eyes of it&#39;s not-so-great basketball team. Also, turning Craigslist posts into comedy.</p><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-awkward-comedy-of-craigslist/embed?header=false&border=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-awkward-comedy-of-craigslist.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-awkward-comedy-of-craigslist" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: The awkward comedy of Craigslist" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 08:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-04-18/morning-shift-awkward-comedy-craigslist-110044 Morning Shift: The soulful sounds of Brazil's Luisa Maita http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-04-04/morning-shift-soulful-sounds-brazils-luisa-maita <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Cover Flickr retorta_net.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We get a preview of the Cubs home opener from our WBEZ sports contributor Cheryl Raye-Stout. Plus, we bring you live music from Brazilian chanteuse Luisa Maita.</p><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-soulful-sounds-of-brazil-s-luisa/embed?header=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-soulful-sounds-of-brazil-s-luisa.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-soulful-sounds-of-brazil-s-luisa" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: The soulful sounds of Brazil's Luisa Maita" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Fri, 04 Apr 2014 08:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-04-04/morning-shift-soulful-sounds-brazils-luisa-maita Leaked video appears to show Blue Line train derailment http://www.wbez.org/news/leaked-video-appears-show-blue-line-train-derailment-109917 <p><p>Footage appearing to show <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/blue-line-train-derails-climbs-escalator-ohare-109909">Monday&#39;s Blue Line derailment</a> at O&#39;Hare International Airport <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elMXt00xyIU">surfaced late Tuesday on YouTube</a>.</p><p>Though the original poster is unkown and the video was taken down, copies have sprung up around the video-sharing website. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, neither the <a href="http://voices.suntimes.com/news/breaking-news/surveillance-video-appears-to-show-blue-line-ohare-derailment/">CTA or the NTSB have commented on the video yet</a>.&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 26 Mar 2014 08:23:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/leaked-video-appears-show-blue-line-train-derailment-109917 Blue Line train derails, climbs escalator at O'Hare http://www.wbez.org/news/blue-line-train-derails-climbs-escalator-ohare-109909 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP661422106797(1).jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Last updated March 25, 4 p.m.</em></p><p>An emergency track-side braking system activated but failed to stop a Chicago commuter train from jumping the tracks and barreling to the top of an escalator at O&#39;Hare International Airport, a federal investigator said Tuesday.</p><p>The events that led to Monday&#39;s accident, which occurred around 3 a.m. and injured more than 30 passengers, might have begun with the train operator dozing off toward the end of her shift, according the union representing transit workers. But Tuesday&#39;s announcement that a piece of emergency safety equipment might have failed was the first indication the accident could have been caused by human error and mechanical failure.</p><p>National Transportation Safety Board investigator Ted Turpin said a preliminary review showed the train was traveling at the correct speed of 25 mph as it entered the station. Investigators said they have not yet determined whether the operator ever applied the in-cab brake.</p><p>Turpin, who is in charge of the investigation, said an automatic emergency braking system located on the tracks was activated but failed to stop the train as it burst onto the platform.</p><p>&quot;It activated,&quot; Turpin said of the emergency system. &quot;That&#39;s all we know factually. Now, whether it did it in time or not, that&#39;s an analysis that we have to figure out.&quot;</p><p>A team from the NTSB was also exploring how rested the train operator was before starting her shift and whether rules governing overtime had been violated, after a union official suggested she might have dozed off.</p><p>They planned to interview the train operator Tuesday afternoon.</p><p>&quot;We&#39;re going to ask probably the operator how they felt ... because we always take into consideration the fatigue factor. It&#39;s one of the things we do investigate,&quot; Turpin said.</p><p>The operator, whom officials have not identified, was off duty for about 17 hours before starting work around 8 p.m. Sunday but had recently put in a lot of overtime, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308 President Robert Kelly said Monday.</p><p>&quot;I know she works a lot &mdash; as a lot of our members do,&quot; he said. &quot;They gotta earn a living. ... She was extremely tired.&quot;</p><p>Kelly said the operator took standard drug and alcohol tests after the derailment and that she assured him they were not an issue.</p><p>Asked whether she may have nodded off, Kelly responded: &quot;The indication is there. Yes.&quot;</p><p>Federal investigators hoped to turn the scene over to local officials later Tuesday to begin removing the train from the escalator at the underground Chicago Transit Authority station.</p><p>The train is designed to stop if operators become incapacitated and their hand slips off the spring-loaded controls. Kelly speculated that, upon impact, inertia might have thrown the operator against the hand switch, accelerating it onto the escalator.</p><p>Transit officials refused to discuss what other safety mechanisms are in place around the transit system while the investigation was ongoing.</p><p>Federal safety regulators keep a close watch on longer distance, city-to-city passenger rail and freight operations. But federal safety oversight of transit systems within cities has been weaker, and responsibility for any technology to prevent crashes and control speeds has been left to local authorities.</p><p>There are efforts to grant a safety oversight role to the Federal Transit Administration, which has primarily been a funding agency, said Sean Jeans-Gail, vice president of the National Association of Railroad Passengers, a Washington-based advocacy group.</p><p>In the meantime, local transit agencies like Chicago&#39;s make their own choices about how to spend scarce funding, juggling the needs of safely maintaining systems that are a century old in some places with pressure to expand systems to meet demand.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s always going to be a tension, but it&#39;s a tension that becomes more pronounced when there&#39;s not a healthy level of investment in both maintenance and ... capacity expansion,&quot; Jeans-Gail said.</p><p>Investigators have also been scrutinizing the train&#39;s brakes, track signals and other potential factors while reviewing video footage from more than 40 cameras in the station and on the train, Turpin said.</p><p>The station remained closed Tuesday, and CTA buses took passengers to and from O&#39;Hare to the next station on the line. Transport officials have not said when full Blue Line service will resume at O&#39;Hare.</p></p> Mon, 24 Mar 2014 09:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/blue-line-train-derails-climbs-escalator-ohare-109909 Morning Shift: Do increased smoking restrictions mean less smokers? http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-02-18/morning-shift-do-increased-smoking-restrictions-mean <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Flickr lanier67.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A proposed bill in the state Senate would fine smokers who light up with kids in the car. But, does a ticket really prevent people from lighting up? We hear from smokers and those looking to curb the addiction.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-do-increased-smoking-restrictions-me/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-do-increased-smoking-restrictions-me.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-do-increased-smoking-restrictions-me" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Do increased smoking restrictions mean less smokers?" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Tue, 18 Feb 2014 08:32:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-02-18/morning-shift-do-increased-smoking-restrictions-mean