George and Sara Aye of Logan Square are campaigning for change.
The husband-wife team is trying to raise money to fund a CTA app that goes beyond Bus and Train Tracker to serve as a digital customer service agent that would tell riders what's near their station and provide alternative routes if train service is shut down.
To raise the $125,000 the Ayes believe it costs to develop such an app, they turned to Kickstarter, an online funding platform that is becoming a go-to for CTA-related projects.
As of Monday morning, the Ayes had raised more than $17,000 from 285 donors, some giving as little as $2. There are incentives for people to give, and the perks sweeten with larger donations.
Small-time givers can get the app free when it's available, while those who pledge $25 get to give their input on the app.
"This project is a little bit of an experiment," Sara Aye, 32, said. "Will people pay a nominal amount to participate in a project that is exciting and affects them? So far, that answer is yes."
But the Ayes still are more than $100,000 from their goal, with about two weeks left until their Kickstarter deadline kicks in. They said they are looking at alternative sources of funding to supplement the Kickstarter money.
Meanwhile, Tristan Hummel of Logan Square has found more success with Kickstarter. Last week, Hummel met his Kickstarter funding goal for his annual mobile art gallery.
Typically, Hummel uses corporate sponsorship to pay for Art on Track, an art show that circles the Loop on a summer evening.
This year Hummel said he didn't have time to solicit corporate donors so he looked to Kickstarter, where he raised more than his $10,000 goal. The decorated six-car Orange Line train is expected to make its run in September.
Hummel, 25, said he was surprised that 20 percent of his 90-plus backers live outside Illinois. One out-of-towner even donated $500.
Nevertheless, Hummel said he's not sure he'll use Kickstarter again to fund this project. He said he's found it's easier to ask a few people for a lot of money instead of asking a lot of people for a little money.
"I think [Kickstarter] is a better platform for products because you can get the product. For a one-night event, it doesn't make sense," Hummel said. "It's such an intangible thing. People outside Chicago don't get to see it."
The Active Transportation Alliance, the local cycling, walking and transit riding advocacy group, is bringing a display on bus rapid transit, a system that is supposed to speed bus service by relying on traffic signal priority and bus-only lanes, to six CTA bus and train stops Aug. 7-9. Go to activetrans.org for more information.
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A weekly dispatch from a CTA station of note
This week: Western Blue Line on the O'Hare branch
The Western Blue Line "L" stop on the O'Hare branch should be called the "smell" stop. The Logan Square station has a few Dumpsters under its tracks, which provide an uncomfortable environment for riders climbing the steps to the platforms. Hey CTA, it's called the Blue Line, not the loo line.
Next up: Belmont Blue Line