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December 5, 2011 | By Tracy Swartz, RedEye
Everyone's used to characters on the CTA. Now the CTA is using characters - about 140 of them - to its advantage. The CTA on Thursday celebrated the one-month anniversary of its Twitter and Facebook accounts. Since it launched its social media presence on Nov. 1, the CTA has garnered more than 3,400 Twitter followers and more than 4,700 likes on its Facebook page. "We believe this is a valuable resource for customers," said Brian Steele, the new CTA director of communications and media relations, who regularly updates the agency's social media outlets with a few other CTA employees.
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NEWS
April 21, 2014 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
Call it the Leonardo DiCaprio of CTA stops. The Sheridan Red Line station has been passed over again - but not for an Oscar, like Leo. The CTA last week proposed a $1.13 billion overhaul of four North Side stations, from Lawrence to Bryn Mawr, and the accompanying track as part of the first phase of its titanic Red and Purple Line modernization plan. The announcement left some riders seeing red over the lack of inclusion of the Sheridan stop, often chided for its narrow staircases, antiquated wooden platforms and puddles after rainstorms.
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NEWS
February 20, 2012 | By Tracy Swartz, RedEye
Call 'em rail fails. Some Going Public readers have been railing against problems with CTA stations and train service lately. Next stop: Frustration station. No crown for Brown It seems that ever since the platform expansion was completed Brown Line off-peak trains (especially during the day and weekends) are only four cars. I feel that this is a problem because I have to stand every time and the trains are just packed. Especially with less frequent service it is quite inconvenient.
NEWS
April 17, 2014 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
The CTA announced today that it plans to create a bypass north of the Belmont station to speed North Side Brown, Red and Purple Line train travel through that area. About 150,000 rides go through the intersection north of the Belmont stop every day, creating a bottleneck that causes trains to have to wait minutes for signal clearance, the CTA said. The agency estimates it would cost $320 million to create the bypass and rebuild northern Red Line tracks. The CTA is seeking federal funds for this project, which may require the CTA to acquire 16 buildings north of Belmont for...
NEWS
December 5, 2012 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
The CTA today launched its campaign about stroller use on buses, reminding riders that priority seating is intended for the elderly and riders with disabilities. "Open strollers may be parked in this area if these seats are not in use, but must be moved if a customer with a disability or a senior needs the seat," says the placards on CTA buses and trains. Bus operators, who received retraining on the stroller policy, which has been in place for nearly 10 years, will pass out fliers with the policy to riders with strollers when they board the bus. The leaflets are available at rail stations, the CTA...
NEWS
April 30, 2012 | By Tracy Swartz, RedEye
Six male riders - including a teenager - have been killed on CTA tracks since March, an increase from previous years, according to the transit agency's data. The most recent rail death was last week, when a 27-year-old ex-Marine visiting Chicago was electrocuted after touching the third rail at the South Boulevard stop on the Purple Line. Evanston police said he was on the tracks urinating and accidentally fell on the third rail. Zachary McKee's death was the second CTA rail death in April.
NEWS
June 10, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
Gov. Quinn last week picked a longtime politico to sit on the CTA's board--and he doesn't live anywhere near a CTA stop. Quinn nominated Frank Zuccarelli, a 20-year supervisor of Thornton Township in south Cook County, to replace John Bouman, who is leaving the board after nearly four years. Zuccarelli, who resides in South Holland, did not return a request for comment. At least one of the members of the seven-member CTA board has to live outside Chicago city limits, according to state law. But every board member should have easy access to the CTA. The CTA...
NEWS
February 21, 2012 | By Tracy Swartz, RedEye
Forget about rush hour. Every day on the CTA, it's crush hour - on men. For more than nine months, the website ctacrush.com has encouraged Chicagoans to submit photos of their CTA crushes. A new photo is uploaded about once a day. Sometimes they're of crushes on the buses, sometimes they're of crushes on the trains. The one thing all these crushes have in common: They are all men. Only one photo of a woman, a blond in a trench coat holding a pen and biting her finger in the back of a CTA bus, has been submitted.
NEWS
March 5, 2012 | By Tracy Swartz, RedEye
Janet Martin loves to add a dash of honey to your commute. The CTA customer service agent greets many Brown Line riders with a "honey" and asks them about their day. If they need help getting to the platform, she's always there with an extra hand. The riders at the Kedzie stop in Albany Park, where Martin works from 6-9:30 a.m., don't just like her. They adore her. In a post last week on everyblock.com , a Chicago neighborhood discussion board, riders heaped praise on Martin, who has worked at the Chicago, Western and Addison stops in the past few years.
NEWS
February 13, 2012 | By Tracy Swartz, RedEye
It's Valentine's Day, and you don't have a date? Don't panic yet; it's not too late. Several missed CTA connections are posted on RedEye's site. Some romantic, some funny, many based on sight. Going Public created a poem of some of the best pines. Orange, Blue and the bus lines. Each line is from a different submission. Check 'em out if you want love or if you're just out fishin': I first noticed you when we were walking through the turnstiles/ You had a bright pink phone, dark hair and nice smile.
NEWS
April 16, 2014 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
The CTA is closing its sales center Friday as it moves closer to transitioning to Ventra, its new fare payment system. CTA riders have long been able to purchase fare cards at the sales center, which is on the second floor of CTA headquarters at 567 W. Lake St. The CTA is encouraging riders to visit the Ventra customer service center for fare card help, around the corner from headquarters at 165 N. Jefferson St. Riders can still purchase disposable...
NEWS
April 16, 2014 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
The CTA today said it is planning to rebuild four North Side Red Line stations from Lawrence to Bryn Mawr. Work on the Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr stops and accompanying track would begin in 2017 at the earliest, the CTA said. The CTA still needs to get funding for this project, which is estimated to cost $1.13 billion. The CTA said is seeking federal funds. CTA spokesman Brian Steele said it is has not been determined whether the CTA will completely shut down that portion of the Red Line stop during construction, like it...
NEWS
April 16, 2014 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
CTA riders could see fewer instances of buses arriving at stops in pairs, thanks to CTA board approval Wednesday of a tool that may reduce bus bunching. The CTA board approved a three-year, $13.4 million contract with Clever Devices , a New York-based transportation technology company with a Chicago office, which is meant to improve communications between the CTA control center and bus drivers. The system would allow control center workers to see buses bunch in real time and tell bus drivers if they need to slow down on their route...
NEWS
April 11, 2014 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
The CTA is rerouting various trains for construction this weekend. RedEye breaks down your weekend commute. > > The Red Line: Northbound trains are not stopping at the Addison stop from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., on Saturday and Sunday. The CTA is performing track maintenance there. To get to the Addison stop, riders can take the northbound train to Sheridan and take a southbound train to Addison. > > The Blue Line: Bus shuttles are replacing trains between the Damen and Western stops on the O'Hare branch from 10 p.m. Friday to 4 a.m....
NEWS
April 11, 2014 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
Quick -- how well do you know the CTA? Try this CTA puzzle , which is a mix of CTA knowledge and typing skills. Players have 60 seconds to unscramble as many CTA stops as they can. There are more than 140 stations in the CTA system. The puzzle was created by James Offer, an Australian user experience designer. Offer has also created word puzzles based on rail systems in Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada. A few weeks ago, Offer created his first rail puzzle for the system in London, where he lives.
NEWS
April 10, 2014 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
A state lawmaker is holding a town hall this month to discuss the possible rehabilitation of the Forest Park branch of the Blue Line. State Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood) is hosting a town hall from 7 to 8:30 p.m. April 22 at Proviso Math and Science Academy Auditorium, 8601 W. Roosevelt Road in Forest Park. State and local transit officials will answer questions about proposals to expand the Eisenhower Expressway and overhaul the Forest Park Blue Line branch. Nearly 30 percent of the branch is under slow zone, according to March data from the CTA. ...
NEWS
March 19, 2012 | By Tracy Swartz, RedEye
The Red Line, the backbone of the 'L,' has become more like a ball of nerves. Last week, the CTA touted a 3 percent increase in ridership from 2010 to 2011, but the southern portion of the Red Line saw a dip - perhaps due to slow zones. The case of Red Line slow zones may provide clues to how Red Line and Loop ridership could be affected in the next few months when two construction projects will likely bring similar slowdowns. The CTA will be working on renewing its track in the Loop this spring, and the agency will be improving stations on the northern sections of the Red Line this summer.
NEWS
June 5, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
Listen up, riders. The CTA wants you to know that soon it will be switching to Ventra, its new fare payment system that the agency plans to roll out this summer. The CTA this week began audio announcements on all its buses about Ventra. There are two versions of the announcements, which run every 25 to 30 minutes. "They're basically educational recordings letting people know to visit ventrachicago.com," CTA spokeswoman Lambrini Lukidis said. "It's just kind of an awareness campaign right now. " The CTA has not yet announced a start date for Ventra except to say that it is...
NEWS
April 10, 2014 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
The CTA will close part of the Orange Line for five weekends this spring as it makes structural improvements, the agency said Thursday. Meanwhile, the agency said it will begin work Monday on rehabbing the Harrison Red Line stop on the Near South Side as part of a $92 million project that includes the Orange Line work and the construction of the new Green Line station on Cermak Road. For the Orange Line work, the CTA will suspend rail service between the Roosevelt and Halsted stops for five weekends between mid-April and early June.
NEWS
April 9, 2014 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
The Rosemont Blue Line stop, which claims one of the CTA's fastest-growing riderships, may be getting more amenities. The Regional Transportation Authority, the funding arm for CTA, Metra and Pace, approved funding for a $250,000 study of how to improve access to the Rosemont stop and use adjacent land for transit-oriented development, the RTA said Tuesday. The 30-year-old station saw its ridership jump 9.5 percent, from 1.7 million entries in 2012 to nearly 1.9 million entries in 2013.
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