Huber’s open letter to CTA riders is bullshit.
I don’t think he or the Governor give a damn about the hardships that these doomsday cuts will cause the riders of the CTA who will likely have doubled commute times or will need to find alternate transportation all together.
Tribune article below:
CTA cuts, fare hikes ‘will hurt everyone’
By Jeff Long
Tribune staff reporter
5:44 PM CDT, September 9, 2007
Chicago Transit Authority officials warned commuters Sunday that dozens of bus routes will be eliminated, fares will be increased and 600 employees will lose their jobs next week because the state has failed to boost funding.
The route cancellations will affect about 100,000 riders beginning Sept. 16, CTA President Ron Huberman said during a news conference at the agency’s Kedzie Garage. With talks about more CTA funding apparently stalled in Springfield, he said, the cuts and increases are necessary, or the authority will not be able to make its payroll in December, which could force a systemwide shutdown.
“These cuts and fare increases will hurt everyone,” Huberman said.
“I understand that they are angry,” he said of riders who will have to find alternate routes and means of transportation, and of CTA workers who will lose jobs. “This has been a frustrating few months.”
The proposal rejected Tuesday by state lawmakers called for a quarter-cent sales tax increase in Cook County and a half-cent boost in the collar counties to shore up transportation needs.
In response, the CTA reiterated Sunday that it will cut 39 bus routes in the city and suburbs and boost fares by 25 cents to $1, depending on the time and mode of travel. Fares for seniors, students and people with disabilities will not increase.
Those cuts will only stave off budget problems this year. Additional cuts will be needed to balance the books in 2008, officials say.
“That budget will have to contemplate additional service cuts and additional fare increases,” CTA Board Chairwoman Carole Brown said.
Even if lawmakers approve funding after Sept. 16, it will likely be a week before all canceled bus routes are running again, Huberman said. He noted it will take between $2 million and $3 million to get laid-off drivers back on the road because of costs such as recertification and drug testing.
The authority has already cut costs by $32 million, including the elimination of 75 administrative jobs, according to Huberman.
And this year’s capital budget—to replace and do major repairs on a fleet of buses with an average age of 16 years and 600,000 miles—has been cut by $56 million, Huberman said.
“Riders are mad,” Brown said. “They’re mad at the whole process.”