Members of Citizens Taking Action, an organization of comprised of transit-dependent riders, voices opposition to the announcement by CTA to increase transit fares on Jan. 14 for daily, three-day, seven-day and 30-day passes, and by as much as 74 percent for the one-day pass.
Charles Paidock, secretary of the organization, said, “This marks the 20th fare increase CTA has announced since it was started in 1947. During this time period, we discovered that about 57 bus routes have been eliminated, and 133 elevated stations have been closed. And on top of this, 24 hours service to neighborhoods is almost non-existent, and headways or waiting time between buses is anybody’s guess. Then CTA began rearranging what bus routes were left supposedly to eliminate overcrowding.”
Paidock added, "CTA’s plan to get concessions from the bus drivers and train operators was wrong from the start. I don’t expect the driver to pay for my fare when I get on a bus. Nor should the working poor who use public transit have to take out a home loan to feed the farebox.”
Kevin Peterson, another officer, said, “CTA is now going after seniors and the disabled, raising their fares as well. These are people who are least likely to afford a fare increase, and these aren’t 'modest reductions in discounts,' as CTA claims. They are fare increases. Usually the people who use one day passes are the people who can’t afford weekly or monthly passes. Plus, you have to go to an el station in order to put money on a transit card. That’s why they usually get a one-day pass from a currency exchange or another outlet.”
Peterson added, “Normally they also have hidden service cuts which they don’t announce. Usually we don’t find out about it until a week or two before it happens. You have to watch for when the yellow signs go up at your bus stop. My main bus route has been cut five time in the past five years. There are no hearings on these so called ‘service adjustments’ which are probably already planned.”
The group is also concerned that only two budget hearings, normally held in October, have been scheduled, with none on the north or south sides of the city, and one of them is at a location which isn’t on a bus line or near an el station.
Plans are being made to alert as many riders as possible to come to the budget hearings scheduled for December 10 at 6:00 p.m. at CTA Headquarters, at 567 W. Lake Street, as well as RTA hearings which follow to approve the overall budget for the three transit services.