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trainman8119

Paratransit

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Can someone please explain to me what the heck the CTA is crying about regarding Paratransit costs when they don't provide the service after dumping it off to Pace.

Tribune Article

But it still a drain on the available money that RTA has to pass out to the three service boards. What they are saying is that if paratransit use increases like it has been doing the amount RTA has for conventional bus and train services will be reduced.

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Can someone please explain to me what the heck the CTA is crying about regarding Paratransit costs when they don't provide the service after dumping it off to Pace.

Tribune Article

That one is easy to explain.

Rep. Nekritz pushed through a bill, at Pace's behest, saying that paratransit "gets what it needs" off the top.

That is now reflected in Section 2.01d of the RTA Act:

"Sec. 2.01d. ADA Paratransit Fund. The Authority shall establish an ADA Paratransit Fund and, each year, deposit into that Fund the following amounts: (i) a base amount equal to $115,000,000 in 2012, and, each year thereafter, an amount equal to the final budgeted funding for ADA paratransit services for the current year."

I commented at the time this was proposed that since it is off the top, there was no incentive for efficiency, and it would cut into fixed route service (I think I said destroy it). Look at recent Pace Minutes and budgets, which confirm that Pace expects the RTA to fund it, and that they don't see how it could become more efficient unless it gets $160 million in capital, and because the elderly population is rising.

Also, as the article says, the cost has doubled since Carole Brown made a stink about it in 2005.

You'll also note in the Pace budget that they get other "off the tops" such as the South Cook Jobs grant. Pace isn't really doing anything to earn that grant (which was proposed about the same time as the Harvey-Rosemont service), but just says "We spend more on South Division than the grant."

So, it is a shell game, whose time is running out.

Update: I see that 2847 beat me to the punch on the effect, but the reason is here.

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Thank You. I think CTA (and Metra, I guess) would be better served by saying that the effect of Paratransit costs hurts them and not imply that this is part of their own operating budgets.

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Thank You. I think CTA (and Metra, I guess) would be better served by saying that the effect of Paratransit costs hurts them and not imply that this is part of their own operating budgets.

I don't think the article said that. In fact it was fairly clear:

From 2008 through this year, paratransit expenses have reduced the CTA's share of funding by $239 million and Metra's share by $194 million, according to an analysis of Regional Transportation Authority financial statements by the CTA, which is struggling to cobble together a 2013 budget that avoids fare hikes or service cuts.

Now, the "cobble together" might have implied otherwise, but it is clear that like Carole Brown indicating in 2005 that paratransit was supposedly the cause of the then $54 million deficit, but then said that giving it to Pace didn't solve the problem, essentially because Pace would also get the money to operate it, there isn't a clear causal relationship between paratransit and Claypool not posting a budget on transitchicago.com as of this moment.

In that the article says that paratransit is 5.4% of the RTA budget, but not that CTA is probably 50%, there may be an issue of the tail wagging the dog, but I suppose that every $million counts somewhat. Obviously, though, the numbers in the quoted portion are somewhat misleading, in that some level of paratransit service must be provided under federal law.

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The November Pace minutes provide a rather murky discussion of this. While it is quite clear that the Pace Board's opinion is that the rest of the RTA area is keeping CTA afloat despite its own failure to balance its budget, it isn't horribly clear about how much is state money vs. off the top of the sales tax.

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In another paratransit issue, it appears from the Pace awarded contracts page that MV is going to take over north Cook from First Transit (Glenview). From seeing where the vehicles are parked, apparently not yet.

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Pace home page has an article on a paratransit audit, which says:

The administrative deficiency concerned the need for the paratransit fare to be free where comparable fixed route service is community sponsored.

Looks like folks in Niles will get free paratransit. It doesn't look like the village is going to pay for it, though.

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