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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
May 29, 2014 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
The Damen and California Blue Line stations will temporarily close for multiple weeks this fall under a preliminary station construction plan the CTA unveiled Thursday. The $33 million station work, which is expected to include stationhouse and platform renovations, is slated to last August through January. The upgrades are part of the CTA's four year, $492 million project to improve the O'Hare branch of the Blue Line. The Damen station will close for no more than 63 days, while the California stop will close for no more than 42 days, CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said.
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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
May 28, 2014 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
Electronics thefts on the CTA were down 36 percent for the first three months of this year, according to Chicago police data released last week. There were 228 reported thefts of iPhones, cellphones and computers from January through March, compared to 355 thefts during the same period last year, police said. CTA officials credit the decrease to an increase in cameras on the system, which saw ridership decline nearly 7 percent in January and February, according to the most recent ridership data available.
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
May 14, 2014 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
The CTA is making progress cracking down on strollers that take up space in priority seating on buses, CTA president Forrest Claypool said today. Stroller complaints were down 60 percent in the six months after the CTA introduced an information campaign in November 2012 to remind riders that priority seating is intended for the elderly and riders with disabilities, Claypool said. There were six complaints about strollers in priority seating in the six months after the campaign launched compared with 15 complaints in the six months prior to the campaign,...
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
May 26, 2014 | Tracy Swartz, @TracySwartz and Going Public
If you were given an unlimited-use Ventra card for free, how often would you ride the CTA? If you're CTA board chairman Terry Peterson, the answer would be 17 times in eight months. If you're veteran CTA board member Alejandro Silva, it would be five times. If you're longtime CTA board member Rev. Charles Robinson, it would be zero times. About half of the seven-member CTA board rode the system regularly from August to April, according to information Going Public obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request for the number of times CTA board members and...
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...
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
May 26, 2014 | Tracy Swartz, @TracySwartz and Going Public
If you were given an unlimited-use Ventra card for free, how often would you ride the CTA? If you're CTA board chairman Terry Peterson, the answer would be 17 times in eight months. If you're veteran CTA board member Alejandro Silva, it would be five times. If you're longtime CTA board member Rev. Charles Robinson, it would be zero times. About half of the seven-member CTA board rode the system regularly from August to April, according to information Going Public obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request for the number of times CTA board members and officials used their CTA-issued...
NEWS
May 22, 2014 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
Bhuttu Mathews of Uptown said he uses the Argyle Red Line stop multiple times per week and is tired of the station's crumbling infrastructure and lack of accessibility. He said he is looking forward to the CTA's proposal, which will cost $1.13 billion, to overhaul Red Line stations and track from Lawrence to Bryn Mawr. If the CTA identifies funding, the four stations could get elevators to become accessible for riders with disabilities. "These plans are encouraging," said Mathews, a resource coordinator for people with disabilities.
NEWS
May 22, 2014 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
Jacob Peters doesn't live near the Belmont stop in Lakeview, but Thursday he waded into what is shaping up to be a neighborhood fight over a CTA proposal to create a bypass near Belmont Avenue to ease Red, Purple and Brown line train travel. Peters, who lives in Logan Square, said he rides the CTA through Lakeview several times a week - the Red Line to visit his girlfriend in Lakeview and the Brown Line to visit his parents in Albany Park. He said he has frequently waited at the train bottleneck north of the Belmont stop.
NEWS
May 20, 2014 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
Nine in 10 CTA rides are paid for with Ventra cards, the CTA said today, as the agency moves to eliminate use of Chicago Cards in less than two weeks. On June 1, riders will no longer be allowed to use their Chicago Cards or load money onto disposable fare cards as the CTA prepares to fully transition to Ventra in July. The agency stopped letting riders reload their Chicago Cards and buy disposable cards on May 1. In the past two weeks, a few holdouts have switched over to Ventra.
NEWS
May 20, 2014 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
A Chicago art group is hoping it can raise enough funds to complete its documentary about transforming a CTA rail car into a mobile theater. Joseph Baldwin's and his group Noisivelvet on Monday began soliciting $500 on fundraising site Indiegogo to finish and screen their documentary "El Stories: Art on Track. " In September 2012, Noisivelvet transformed a CTA car into a theater so the acting troupe Waltzing Mechanics could re-enact real-life stories about people riding the CTA. The group performed "El Stories," their long-running show...
NEWS
May 20, 2014 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
The CTA on Wednesday is holding a meeting about its $1.13 billion proposal to overhaul four Red Line stations, from Lawrence to Bryn Mawr, and corresponding track. The proposed improvements include elevators, wider platforms, better lighting, longer canopies and more benches. None of the four stops are currently accessible for riders with disabilities; the proposal includes making all four stops accessible. Work would begin at 2017 at the earliest, depending on when CTA could identify funding.
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
May 19, 2014 | Tracy Swartz, @TracySwartz and Going Public
Kara Kilmer boarded the bus at Belmont Avenue and Sheridan Road in Lakeview and checked her phone as she sat in her leather seat. To her left, another rider worked on his laptop using the bus' WiFi. There were only a few other commuters, so the Monday morning ride was quiet. Sixteen minutes later, Kilmer got off at the Aon Center for her marketing job. Kilmer was one of about a dozen Chicagoans on Monday who rode Blackline, a new private shuttle from Lakeview to the Loop that boasts air conditioning, WiFi, leather seats and overhead storage space.
NEWS
May 15, 2014 | By Rachel Cromidas, @rachelcromidas and RedEye
A Chicago man was accused of threatening two CTA employees at separate Red Line stations after he was arrested at the Grand Avenue station for shouting death threats at a K-9 unit, according to court records. Ricardo Woods, 30, of the 7900 block of South Talman Avenue, allegedly was detained for loitering on CTA property at the station without boarding a train, but became belligerent when he was released, the police report said. Woods was arrested and charged with threatening CTA agents with bodily harm.
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