A New Plan for “Governance” of Public Transit
to be Announced
A totally new plan for reorganizing the structure of public transit for the Chicago metropolitan area (encompassing the city and six surrounding counties with 200+ municipalities) will be announced by Charles Paidock, Secretary of Citizens Taking Action for transit dependent riders. While several plans have been developed and are being advanced, it is maintained that none of them recommends an organization structure based upon modern “economy of function” concepts, and preserves service levels of Pace, Metra, and CTA at less cost. Unless acted upon, current funding issues will result in increased fares and/or cuts in service.
The plan being proposed is based upon duties performed by personnel in moving passengers economically, efficiently and reliably on a daily basis during peak and off-peak periods. The overall goal is truly integrated travel to and from anywhere in the region, from the first to the last mile.. Whereas a trip may require using different “modes,” the service level of each one should be the focus of operations and capital. At present the three services operate separately from one another, with three different sets of schedules in effect.
All administration of transit would be realigned into one of four (4) components or operations:
Bus, Conventional and Clean Energy Vehicles
(city and suburbs)
Rail, Heavy and Light
Stations, Shelters and Stops, Maintenance of Way
Schedules, Support and Specialized Services
Each of the components would be governed by a board of three or five directors, career transit professionals, chosen either through a process of merit staffing through either upwards mobility, in-house experience and training, or outside recruitment. The parent board of directors would oversee selection with appointments made by applying a relevant position description. The overall board of directors would consist of seven members elected at large for staggered terms.
Five executive directors would be chosen by the board in charge of each component and the system as a whole. All employees of the current systems would either be reassigned into one of the four organizational units, with a buy-out or early retirements offered due to staffing level reductions eliminating duplication, most likely amounting to ten to twenty percent of current in-house personnel.
The new plan will be presented to the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) at the public hearing to be held via Zoom at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 7.
Mr. Paidock stated that “public transit developed in the area over a period of one-hundred years through multiple, separate events. The time has arrived for a true consolidation of operations and governance. This is not just a good idea, but necessitated by a decline in ridership and fare box revenue. Underlying the reorganization is the necessity for expansion of services, and totally new and different methods of funding, which may generate opposition. A line item for an annual appropriation by each municipality, for example, should be considered, based upon service provided to each locality, in addition on to the current sales tax method. Emergency covid funding is set to expire, and we simply cannot expect Springfield to automatically increase financial support.”