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rmadisonwi last won the day on August 21 2012

rmadisonwi had the most liked content!

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About rmadisonwi

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  1. My first question is, where is it stated anywhere that CTA isn't doing anything to adjust service for school changes? Nothing in this thread says they aren't. That said, back when I was at CTA, I was directly involved in scheduling the school trippers, and I don't think that many people out there truly understand or appreciate what it takes to coordinate service to the 40-50 (I forget how many) schools that received dedicated trippers or other service adjustments, many of which had multiple trips (sometimes on multiple routes). It's not like this is the first time CPS has ever changed their school day schedules. In fact, if memory serves me, there was a district-wide change to their schedules four or five years ago that required rescheduling a couple hundred trippers. Further, even when there isn't a large-scale change that goes district-wide, some schools are still changing their schedules, even if only by a few minutes (and that is taken into account). On top of that, many schools (particularly the larger ones, but even some of the smaller ones) had multiple bell times during the day, where maybe half of the students would get out at 2:30 pm, and the other half at 3:00 pm. Then there are the schools (most of them) who had crazy schedules every few weeks where kids would get out at noon instead of 2:30 pm, or the every 15th Thursday where they'd get out at 12:30, or Wednesdays at 1:46 pm (except Wednesdays when they're off on Monday, then they get out at 2:12 pm). Then there are the days off where the trippers are held in (but a normal weekday schedule still operates). Then there are the private and suburban schools that have a completely different calendar than the CPS schools. Then there are the special/military/charter/whatever schools within CPS that have completely different calendars than the rest of CPS. The process of getting the trippers scheduled for the fall would typically start in April with a letter to the schools asking them a few simple questions, namely, what time will your students' school day begin (and how many will begin at that time), and what time will students be dismissed (and how many will be dismissed at that time)? Then, mark on a calendar any off days, and what days special schedules run (the early dismissals, late starts, etc.). Just to compare and make sure no errors were made, we also asked the schools for a copy of their bell schedule (the schedule they give their students, stating what time the periods start and end). You'd be surprised (or maybe not) how often they didn't match. A school might say that 1,000 students get out at 2:30 pm, but the bell schedule shows the last period ends at 2:44 pm. "Oh, but we want the buses to be there by 2:30, so we said 2:30." The response was generally, as politely as possible, something to the effect of, you schedule your students, we schedule the buses. We schedule the buses around when the students will be getting to the bus stop, not when some administrator would like them to be parked in front of their school. Then there were times that CTA staff would find errors in the school's own schedule (why are most of the periods 50 minutes long, but this one only 20 minutes long. School response: "oops"). Then there were plenty of cases where schools simply didn't respond, and we had to either assume no changes from the previous year, or search through the school's website (a waste of our time) and hope that info was there (and hope that it was up to date). This would be followed up by phone calls to find out why they couldn't respond to a survey in two months. One school told us they never received our initial letter becaused they fired the mail room guy and never replaced him. Then there was the school that, one week into the school year, still couldn't tell us what their schedule was. So, no, this stuff doesn't take an executive order to complete. It takes the folks who work there doing the same thing they've done every year for years. Apology accepted.
  2. No need. The reason the 2200s are always in the middle is because they are not ADA compliant, and they want the wheelchair-accessible cars to be on the ends (for consistency). If the Blue Line had any other series of car besides 2600s, regardless of age, they could be on the ends or in the middle (just like you can find 2400s and 2600s on the Purple Line in all sorts of different arrangements).
  3. The red/white striping just means that the cars are set up for work-train service (I don't know all the details, but it has something to do with special MU capabilities with the flat cars). The 2400s are the only cars that actually have the striping, though. There are 2600s that are also capable of work train service. I don't know if any 3200s have that capability. There are a number of cars that are set up with deicing capability. I rode an Orange Line train a few years ago that had the front part of the lead car closed off and set up with containers and special fluids for keeping the ice off the third rail. I don't think it's anything special that couldn't be adapted on a handful of 5000s.
  4. 5643 is in CTA's fleet, not CHBM's fleet.
  5. That new paint scheme looks somewhat like the CTA Optima paint.
  6. Notwithstanding any FTA funding rules related to the useful life of Addison station, *if* (and that's a big if) it turns out that the subway plan is the best idea, then it would really make little sense to skip that option just because one station (of the dozen or so stations on the NSM impacted by this project) happened to be rebuilt 18 years ago. If the subway truly does turn out to be the the one with the most benefits, then some people will just have to accept that there's a station that only got 23-25 years of life before it was closed (as that's how old it will be once things are built...assuming the project got underway this year, which in and of itself is not entirely likely). Besides, I can imagine someone with the same mindset as yours criticizing CTA 20 years from now, saying "CTA could have had a subway running up here carrying twice as many people, but they screwed up a $4 billion project just to save that one station at Addison."
  7. My understanding is that the Dan Ryan was not totally rebuilt during its rehab a few years ago. They rebuilt crossovers and did station work, but the long stretches in between were relatively untouched.
  8. Why would they permanently close Lawrence, but keep Argyle?
  9. rmadisonwi

    Train tracker

    I know the CTA control center inputs train information into the system so they can keep track of things. From that point, it may very well be automated (based on the schedule) unless a controller manually changes something.
  10. Well, you can buy day passes from CVSs and other stores that sell fare media, but yes, the genius CTA board really made a great move in setting the fare at something other than a whole-dollar level when the pass machines can't take coins.
  11. It's not duct tape, but some kind of a sealant tape. I asked MCTS maintenance about it several years ago. Apparently, the roof brace right there has a tendency to leak when the bus is run through the wash. Why MCTS's New Flyers have this problem, but nobody else does, I have no idea.
  12. rmadisonwi

    Train tracker

    My understanding is that the OCU that train operators log into is nothing like the MDT that bus operators log into. The OCU just controls the announcement system (which still has to be manually triggered). The MDT is what passes for a "communications" system on the buses.
  13. That's up to the passenger/customer. Odds are few passengers know how much experience their bus operator has, just like few grocery store customers know how long their cashier has been on the job. All they know is the service they received that day (and, perhaps, past days if they recognize that employee). What that employee went through with the previous customer, or on yesterday's shift, or last year, does not matter to the customer that he/she is facing at the moment. One common theme I have noted in my experience talking to operators (bus and train, CTA and elsewhere, local transit and intercity travel) is that many (not all, but many) forget what it's like to see things from the customer's perspective. This assumes, of course, that they ever were on the customer side (there are plenty of bus operators who would never ride for their own travel). As a result, they often misinterpret what their customers' needs and priorities are. It's also true that passengers themselves may not realize what their priorities are. A safe trip from origin to destination is clearly the #1 priority, but it's also something that most passengers take for granted. Like it or not, for better or worse, most people won't call in just to say that they boarded their bus on time and got to their destination safely. I know that you take safety very seriously, given that you have two jobs where safety has the highest importance, but the fact is that most people won't notice a "safe" driver. If the driver is unsafe, you can bet someone is going to notice, though. So, if you want to define "satisfactory" or "above expectations," you have to ask the passenger what their expectations are. You can't assume you know what a passenger wants, and then complain when someone else gets recognized for actually giving passengers the service they want. To you, experience matters. Maybe, just maybe, to the passengers riding the bus, the operator's length of service isn't the most important thing they're concerned with.
  14. Frankly, I could write the exact same response. If an article saying nice things about a bus operator is a problem for you, then don't read it. I have a right to speak my mind when I don't agree with what you say (I don't see why you should have free reign of the board, while I should just "move on"). As for you having a problem with my remarks...well, don't read them. Move on. You have gone out of your way to write offensive things about the bus operator in this article. You never did answer my question about your motives behind calling the operator a "suckhole." It isn't hate, you claim. It isn't jealousy (well, you never said it wasn't, just that you didn't care for the remark). Then, what is it. What could possibly motivate you to write such an offensive remark about someone you have never in your life even met, and about which you have only read a commending article. You say my jealousy remark is "childish." Then, please tell me what kind of a remark "suckhole" is.
  15. You're the only one calling her a "model operator." The headline says she "models customer service," and that's exactly what she's doing. Customer service isn't about seniority, it's about being nice to people. If you take a step back and read this thread from a viewpoint of a regular passenger who doesn't know or care anything about seniority, union issues, etc., perhaps you could even see why a lot of bus operators have the reputation of being rude, surly, etc. If you're going to go around with a chip on your shoulder, it gets notice by the riders. And no, they're not going to excuse you just because you spent the first half of your shift dealing with high school students on the #20. You may not think it's fair just because someone with limited seniority gets their picture in the paper. If that really gets you worked up, then you need to find another world to live in, because this world isn't fair. If I had a dollar for every time someone else got recognized for doing something I have done just as well or better, I could probably afford to buy my own paper. But instead of complaining about it, I would just shake their hand, say good for them, and thanks for giving all of us a better name. You say it's not about HATE (your own words), but then you use phrases like "SUCKHOLE," and "suck up" to describe this very operator, which "pisses [you] off" (again, your very own words). If it's not about hate, then what is it? Jealousy?
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