Tuesday, March 6, 2007

CTA: We'll run it but we won't ride it

Chicago IL - Chicago Transit Authority officials appear content to run the system but they don't want to ride it themselves. Does this surprise anyone? The Chicago Tribune has a story on what is actually a common problem that effects every public transit system in North America.

While there are some CTA officials that do ride the system regularly, many don't. This has led to much criticism from riders who believe that the CTA management is out of touch with what they manage. The riders are right.

CTA President Frank Kruesi does ride regularly and encourages his employees to ride the system. "...it is important that we experience the service we are asking people to pay for" states Kruesi and he is right on the mark.

Some CTA board members, the same ones that make the ultimate decisions in the agency, seem to think that an occasional ride will suffice. CTA Board Chairwoman Carol Brown thinks it's helpful if the board members have an experience with the system "but every individual is different and sometimes lifestyle doesn't fit into it". If that's that case Ms. Brown, then those that won't ride the system shouldn't be on the board making decisions on how the CTA operates.

I have the same issue with my local transit system where the vast majority of the board members and management won't ride the system yet they dictate how it is run. This just isn't a Chicago problem.

The fact that the majority of transit boards are made up of individuals that are lucky if they even know what the inside of a bus or rail vehicle looks like is rather scary. They are out of touch with what they are in charge of. It's like having a lawyer doing open heart surgery. He may know all the malpractice laws but it doesn't mean he knows how to repair a clogged artery. The transit board of directors is much the same. You have people on it that may have specific specialities (such as financial laws) but it doesn't mean that they understand how a transit system needs to be run.

The linked story goes to Google's news page. Click on the link from there to view the source story at the Chicago Tribune.


Anonymous said...

If the people charged with running and deciding public transit can't trust the agencies they control for a ride, why should they recommend it to others?

RDC said...

If the people charged with running and deciding public transit would actually use it, they could spot the many of the problems before they start.

It's been done in the past and even currently in some operations but the vast majority of the operations, the decision makers don't ride the system and have little idea of what is going on. They only know what's told to them by underlings who are going to paint a rosy picture so they look good to their superiors.