Feb 15, 2010
On Sunday, February 7, the Chicago Transit Authority began massive cuts, with bus service reduced by 18% and rail by 9%. Some 1,050 workers were laid off.
These cuts hit riders hard. 500,000 people take the bus every weekday and 300,000 ride the subway trains. A number of express routes were cut, lengthening the trip to work. Many bus routes have shorter hours of service, hitting workers on late night jobs particularly hard. And there will be longer waits in the cold.
The CTA says it has no choice – it has a 95 million dollar deficit, and CTA workers won’t agree to concessions to cover it. Of course, the CTA has a choice. If the state of Illinois simply cancelled the 98 million dollars it is giving to one charter school operator, the United Neighborhood Organization, which is part of Mayor Daley’s patronage machine, the CTA cuts could be ended. Or the state could take money from the 322 million dollars it is giving to a handful of giant private railroad companies. Or the city of Chicago, which together with the CTA has handed over a 320 million dollar subsidy to developers for their so-called Block 37 CTA superstation downtown, could cover the deficit.
No, the city, state and CTA have choices – but their choice is to use the threat of service attacks to extort concessions from CTA workers.
Enough of that!