Citizens Taking Action
for transit dependent riders
November 7, 2008 www.CTAriders.org Press Release
For Information: Charles Paidock, Secretary (312) 353-0830 firstname.lastname@example.org
Transit Group Objects to Public Hearings
All Held on Same Day, at Same Time
Citizens Taking Action, an organization comprised of transit dependent riders, has raised objections to the manner in which annual budget hearings for the 3 transit services, CTA, Pace, and Metra, have either not been or poorly publicized, and then held all at the same time, on the same day, in different locations. Usually only one active board member was present to listen to passengers voice their concerns, the absolute minimum necessary for compliance with the law.
On Wednesday and Thursday, Metra, for example, held 4 hearings on each day, all at precisely same time. Passengers unable to attend were afforded 24 hours if they wanted to submit written materials, in hard copy only. The meetings were not mentioned anywhere in the October issue Metra’s Commuter Newsletter, “On the Bi-Level.” The publication instead had a lead article on the re-election of the board’s chairman, and concluded with a crossword puzzle on the back page
Pace was significantly more accommodating in scheduling 13 hearings across its service area extending over a 9 day period. Passengers could also submit their comments on a form provided at the services website, as well as send an email with an address provided. A nicely prepared, color brochure with a budget summary, which folded out, was also provided, with pie charts detailing revenue and expenses. Again, however, only one board member was present, however, he did take time to personally respond to, and comment on, each of the issues raised by the testimony given.
CTA held their traditional, single massive meeting for the entire city at their headquarters downtown last week. Copies of the entire budget, in considerable detail, were available. A powerpoint presentation was also given by CTA President Ron Huberman at the beginning explaining where the service was headed in terms of operations and finances. In addition, the entire Board was present throughout the entire hearing. An issue was raised, however, by the transit group member Harry Brooks, who found only one notice posted out of a sample of six buses, and held one of the notices up to show that it could not be read from any distance away. CTA also has a Public Comment Process in effect, for making statements during the year.
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