Citizen Taking Action
for transit dependent riders
For Immediate Release For Information: Charles Paidock, Secretary
www.CTAriders.org (312) 353-0830 firstname.lastname@example.org
CTA Riders Are To Be Blamed?
CTA Group Says Mayor
Is Responsible for Transit Deficit
Members of Citizens Taking Action (CTA), a public transit advocacy group, were upset and angry over Mayor Richard Daley’s remarks that the older and disadvantaged riders, such as the low income disabled, who don’t pay fares are responsible for the projected budget deficit. The group has lobbied vigorously for over 10 years against any fare increases. They have conducted surveys of transit systems in 25 other major U.S. cities, which have shown Chicago transit fares to rank among the highest and most costly in the nation.
Charles Paidock, Secretary, of the organization, stated: “CTA gets about $500 million from riders at the fare box, while the City of Chicago contributes only $3 million. That annual appropriation has been exactly the same since CTA was established in 1947. The city claims it provides instead “in-kind services” to CTA, such as security. Until the Mayor comes up with some real money for public transit, he shouldn’t be telling us, who keep CTA in operation financially, how it should be run.”
The group cites as comparison New York city, where Mayor Michael Bloomberg is under pressure to increase the city’s appropriation of $1.2 billion last year for public transit.
The transit group members are in consensus that increased fuel costs, coupled with increased ridership, have strained many transit systems. Buses are not as fuel efficient they maintain as many believe, getting sometimes only two to three gallons per mile. CTA has had plans for years to extend the electric elevated lines, such as the Orange, Red and Blue lines, they say, and the mistake of not having done so is now becoming painfully apparent. In addition, passengers generally prefer taking light rail, and where available, get people to use public transit who might not do so.
Lois Rhea, a recently retired social worker from Bridgeport, and long-time member of Citizens Taking Action, said: “I am surprised that the free rides for seniors lasted that long. I have kept a few weekly fare cards for when that program would be discountined. No all of the buses have even been equipped yet to accept the senior cards, and now they’re going to end it.”
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