Thursday, August 09, 2007

Shocking Fact | Dan L Exclusive: It costs money to run a massive public transportation system.

In honor of the recent unethical, illegal, and immoral outing of Fake Steve Jobs, I'd like to just say 'Namaste!' to Dennis Byrne whom so eloquently brings the CTA crowd back to the modern era of who's paying for what in just a few lines:

Did you know that every time a CTA rider pays his fare, you figuratively match it? Two bucks from him, almost two bucks from us taxpayers.

But why was their share set at 50 percent? Why not 60 percent or 75 percent? Fifty percent was an arbitrary number that was determined by political compromise; there's nothing magical about it. Indeed, New York City and District of Columbia riders pay a higher share of the cost of their rides.

If CTA riders, for example, were required to pay 60 percent of the total cost, it would generate well more than the $110 million that the CTA wants in increased subsidies this year. Yes, it would require a basic fare increase of roughly 38 cents. But more creative ways are available for increasing fare revenues other than an across-the-board hike. One would be a higher rush-hour fare, when it can be justified by higher demand.

As you would expect, the CTArds (can't get enough of FSJ) went into a mild state of hysterics when they learned that they were paying that much in the arrangement and decided that it would be best to just try to convince us that we should be paying more simply based on the untold services they're providing for Chicagoans. These services apparently even go beyond the constant stream of lolz we've come to expect from them.

Speaking of the the lolz, Chicagoist has once again successfully made themselves a vessel for a somebody's FUD operation:

* Bus fares will rise to $2.00 (using Chicago Card/Chicago Card Plus or Transit Card) or $2.50 (using cash).
* Rail fares will rise to $2.00 (using Chicago Card/Chicago Card Plus) or $2.50 off-peak and $3.00 peak (using Transit Cards or cash). Peak periods will be 6:30-9:30 a.m. and 4:00-7:00 p.m.
* Transfers will remain the same, at 25 cents. Transfers are available only to customers paying fares with Transit Cards or Chicago Card/Chicago Card Plus.
* Prices for unlimited ride passes will increase 11-20%, with the 1-Day Pass increasing from $5 to $6, the 7-Day Pass going from $20 to $23, and the 30-Day Pass increasing from $75 to $84.
* Fares for reduced-fare customers, who include seniors and persons with disabilities, will not change

And again, substantially the same as the last time they fell for the same gag only this time they - and get this, I'm not making it up - are blaming the GOP along with their usual tagline (except, now in image form): Daley, Corruption to blame.

Between the two, the most interesting thing that I see is the complete lack of understanding of what it costs to operate and maintain a world class public transit system coupled with the apparent shock that they're getting more than their fare share for a 2 dollar trip anywhere in the city. In fact, it becomes even more surprising that the information on what it really costs to operate such a behemoth is put out there in a relatively digestible/consumable form, yet because of the FUD format, doesn't detail where the actual funds are leaking out to, and the fact that the average CTA rider is scared shitless when/if some real efficiency minded management takes over and decides that there are some significant and unpleasant growing pains in the form of some service cuts and/or rate increases that need to take place.

I guess that essentially sums the problem and provides a nice summary and is not entirely dissimilar to the reasons why CPS, despite it's numerous attempts at reform over the last 10 or so years, has been so stagnant in making progress: Because your consumer is largely ignorant to the apparatus surrounding the product, the apparatus surrounding the product is completely bloated to the point where it's not really easily understood, and the consumer is really dependent upon the product - that anybody trying to come in and make the Tough Decisions (TM) is going to find themselves hamstrung by the product dependent consumer.

In that respect, there's a hefty chunk of blame for the state of the CTA that goes not to the management of the service, but rather to the consumers who are so unwilling to accept correct management and all of the things that go along with it. Instead they tag on the usual targets - the dreaded condo owners, the evil smokers, and those terrible human beings known as 'motor vehicle owners' whom have become sort of the Trinity Of Great Urban Evil(TM) - to pick up their slack. . Ask yourself what concessions CTArds have said they're willing to make for a better CTA and then ask yourself what concessions they should be making in order to not only preserve what they have, but to improve it.


Anonymous,  10:25 PM  

Discounts for Transgender riders.

Charge more for Christo-fascists.

Teresa,  7:43 AM  

States Attorney Richard Devine is going to announce is retirement. He will not run for re-election. A lot of it has to do with the Jon Burge (and other officers in Area 2 and 3) allegations of torture and wrongful imprisonment.

Dan L 8:21 AM  

Hey! When a 60some odd year old man retires, there must be something for it!!!

Good luck Teresa. So far, the only person who's ended up in jail regarding the Burge fantasy has been your boy Patterson:)

Anonymous,  9:35 AM  

Wow! We only need to MATCH their contribution in order to help reduce congestion and pollution in our community. What a good deal. Count me in! No, in fact, RAISE my share! I will recoup the cost, because I will start using it more as it improves.

Dan L 10:06 AM  

What actual evidence do we have that congestion is reduced by the CTA? At the 30,000 foot view, sure you can say "Oh yeah, more public trans = less cars", but given just how bleary eyed the CTArds get every time somebody says the words "rate hike".

In other words, if somebody were to call their bluff and say "Ok. Then buy a car", I would find it very difficult to believe that we'd see any real increase in congestion. Let's face it: for the vast majority of the commuter population, if you can buy a car, you do.

For however weak the case is for actual value (most tax payers are aware that there is a value - rather have difficulty quantifying it) causes your average person to do a cost benefit analysis as to who gets more benefit from _you_ getting a ride on a bus.

Is it the driver? Or is it the CTA rider?

But if you'd like to make some case on why you should get a free ride, do please.

Anonymous,  7:32 PM  

At least Frank Coconate posts with his real name. Dan is a coward.

Anonymous,  1:34 AM  

Pat McDonough and Aaron Patterson want to meet DanL and Jon Burge in the Gladiator ring.

Will 1:35 PM  

How about we make car drivers pay a special tax to cover the monthly medical bills of those with asthma and other health problems related to emissions from auto exhaust? That would better reflect the true cost of cars as opposed to public transportation.

I'll support a rate hike when government spending on public transportation is equal to or greater than government spending on roads and highways. We have a long way to go before that happens.

Dan L 4:11 PM  

How about we make car drivers pay a special tax to cover the monthly medical bills of those with asthma and other health problems related to emissions from auto exhaust?

Those damned car drivers!! They cause all the asthma in the world!!

That would be wonderful. Let's start with cabs and buses - two huge pollution producers.

The environmentalism argument in terms of public transportation is something of a red herring. The environmentalist perspective is not currently and has never been a driving force behind the building of or the usage of public trans.

Attempting to take the environmentalist issue as being more than a trivial part of the CTA issue is entirely self-serving. Saying "save the environment by riding around in a massive diesel vehicle" doesn't work.

Anonymous,  8:00 AM  

OK, then how about a special tax on transit riders for the buses spew pollution into the air? And for air-pollutin' power plants that generate the electricity needed to run the trains? Social costs and benefits are nice concepts, but how do you quantify them, and where do they end.

Anonymous,  8:53 AM  

seeing as how my tax dollars pay for your roads, DanL, maybe its time that all roads are paid for exclusively through gas taxes.

Then, I'll be more than happy to pay for my cta rides entirely through fares.

How about that?

Given that a quarter million people take the Metra every weekday, and about a million people take the CTA every day, I'm pretty damn sure that public trans reduces congestion.

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