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June 25, 2013 | By Rachel Cromidas, @rachelcromidas and RedEye
A day before the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup, before thousands of fans poured onto the streets of Lakeview and Lincoln Park and some people smashed the windows of busineses up and down Clark Street, the neighborhood saw a different kind of mob action. A group of 15 to 20 youths mobbed three men near the Belmont Avenue CTA station Monday afternoon, state prosecutors said, taking their cell phones and punching and kicking them to the ground. Two men, Morgan Townsend, 22, and Deondre "Dre" Williams, 18, were arrested shortly after the incident at 5:10 p.m. according to Cook County Criminal...
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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...
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NEWS
December 5, 2013 | By Rachel Cromidas, @rachelcromidas and RedEye
A teen was arrested Tuesday at his Cicero home and charged with burglary after he was accused of stealing Chicago Transit Authority items from the Logan Square Blue Line Station. Francisco Vazquez, 18, was allegedly caught on video surveillance at the CTA station aiding another individual breaking into a station kiosk and stealing a CTA radio, among other items, on Nov. 24. Information on Vazquez's co-defendant was not immediately available. According to county court records, Vazquez served as lookout for his companion, who entered the kiosk without permission using a special key...
NEWS
March 31, 2014 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
Forget April Fools' Day. It feels like the CTA is in the middle of April Fools' Year. The agency has made some eyebrow-raising headlines over the last six months. In September, there was the so-called "ghost train," an unoccupied train that traveled nearly a mile before crashing into a Blue Line train filled with riders, none of whom suffered life-threatening injuries. Two CTA workers were fired and two were suspended after investigators found the train had been left in storage in powered-up mode.
NEWS
November 12, 2012 | By Tracy Swartz @tracyswartz and RedEye
With its debut Monday of the "Jeffery Jump" route between downtown and the South Side, the CTA has taken a hop - but not a leap - toward rapid bus service. The new J14 route along Jeffery Boulevard, which replaces the No. 14 Jeffery Express, features upgraded bus shelters and fewer stops, but the main enhancements won't arrive until next year. By spring, the CTA expects to create a system that would give early or extended green lights to buses between 73rd and 84th streets and implement a bypass lane at Jeffery and Anthony Avenue that would allow buses to whiz through the intersection.
NEWS
July 15, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
Pretty soon the CTA may have to be spelled M-C-A - the acronym for the Museum of Contemporary Art near Water Tower Place. The CTA is adding to its collection of more than 50 pieces of artwork at 40-plus stations. The CTA board on Monday approved a $1.3 million contract for South Side sculptor Theaster Gates to create two art pieces for the 95th Street Red Line station, which will undergo overhaul starting next year. The money will go to design, fabrication and installation of the works ($1 million)
NEWS
July 22, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
It should have been billed as a water ride, not a bus ride. Going Public paid to take the No. 146 Inner Drive/Michigan Express bus Friday afternoon at the State/Lake station to ride to Tribune Tower on Michigan Avenue. As riders boarded the bus, the driver warned that the air conditioning was malfunctioning. How bad could it be? What was supposed to be a 10-minute bus ride turned into a sweat lodge that, unfortunately, wasn't an out-of-body experience. Some riders fanned themselves while others tried to open bus windows, all of which were shut.
NEWS
October 18, 2013 | By Rachel Cromidas, @rachelcromidas and RedEye
A box cutter-wielding man was arrested for robbing a woman at a CTA station Thursday after a witness pulled a knife to prevent him from escaping, county prosecutors said. "Mine is bigger than yours," the witness said to the man as he ran through the Red Line Harrison Street Station with a woman's cell phone and Ventra card, according to court records. The man, Robert Henderson, 48, of Dolton, Ill., was charged with armed robbery and aggravated battery after he allegedly grabbed a cell phone out of a woman's hand as she...
NEWS
December 23, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
If 2013 was the year of the Red - thanks to the summer reconstruction of the southern portion of the Red Line - then 2014 will be the year of the Blue. The CTA is expected to begin work in the spring on a $492 million, four-year project to ease the slow zones and upgrade stations on the O'Hare branch of the Blue Line. The agency and the city next year also will continue to work on current ventures, including improving the 95th Street and Clark/Division Red Line stations, building the new Cermak-McCormick Place Green Line stop and reducing slow...
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
December 30, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
It pays to take the CTA on New Year's Eve. CTA riders won't have to pay for their fares from 10 p.m. Tuesday until 4 a.m. Wednesday, thanks to MillerCoors, which is once again picking up the CTA tab as part of a three year, $1.3 million deal. In the past, riders have had to pay a penny to ride on New Year's Eve, but MillerCoors is covering the cost of the penny too. Rail riders need to use main station entrances, not auxiliary turnstiles, to get the special fare. Last year, the CTA said there were about 150,000 rides during the penny promotion.
NEWS
December 23, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
If 2013 was the year of the Red - thanks to the summer reconstruction of the southern portion of the Red Line - then 2014 will be the year of the Blue. The CTA is expected to begin work in the spring on a $492 million, four-year project to ease the slow zones and upgrade stations on the O'Hare branch of the Blue Line. The agency and the city next year also will continue to work on current ventures, including improving the 95th Street and Clark/Division Red Line stations, building the new Cermak-McCormick Place Green Line stop and reducing slow zones...
NEWS
December 5, 2013 | By Rachel Cromidas, @rachelcromidas and RedEye
A teen was arrested Tuesday at his Cicero home and charged with burglary after he was accused of stealing Chicago Transit Authority items from the Logan Square Blue Line Station. Francisco Vazquez, 18, was allegedly caught on video surveillance at the CTA station aiding another individual breaking into a station kiosk and stealing a CTA radio, among other items, on Nov. 24. Information on Vazquez's co-defendant was not immediately available. According to county court records, Vazquez served as lookout for his companion, who...
NEWS
November 25, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
Tapped out on holiday gift ideas? Here are a few CTA token trinkets that harken back to the days of yore, the '90s, when riders could use tokens or magnetic stripe cards to pay their fares. The CTA eliminated tokens in 1999, while the magnetic stripe card, a mainstay for nearly two decades, was slated for elimination Dec. 15 before it won a reprieve thanks to problems with Ventra. Disposable farecard earrings $20 , UrbaneBeads shop on etsy.com Seller says: "I began collecting dropped and lost CTA transit passes and was...
NEWS
October 21, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
During a test run on the new South Side Red Line tracks Friday afternoon, Going Public asked CTA chief infrastructure officer Chris Bushell how long it would be before this portion of Red Line - where 45 percent of the tracks required a train speed reduction in May - would see a slow zone. Ten years, he said. Try one day. Hours before trains were set to get back to work ferrying CTA riders between 95th Street and Roosevelt Road in the first full Red Line Monday morning commute in five months, a truck cab crashed into a...
NEWS
October 18, 2013 | By Rachel Cromidas, @rachelcromidas and RedEye
A box cutter-wielding man was arrested for robbing a woman at a CTA station Thursday after a witness pulled a knife to prevent him from escaping, county prosecutors said. "Mine is bigger than yours," the witness said to the man as he ran through the Red Line Harrison Street Station with a woman's cell phone and Ventra card, according to court records. The man, Robert Henderson, 48, of Dolton, Ill., was charged with armed robbery and aggravated battery after he allegedly grabbed a cell phone out of a woman's hand as she walked down...
NEWS
July 1, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz @tracyswartz and RedEye
Perhaps the nursery rhyme should have been called "The Farmer and 'L. " It's farmers market season in Chicago, and some of these markets are conveniently located next to CTA stations. Last week, the city debuted two new night markets near the Logan Square Blue Line and Argyle Red Line stops to supplement the farmers markets that operate during days. Going Public tells you how to get from the CTA line to the check-out line. A full list of markets is available at chicago.metromix.com . > > Brown Line About 20 vendors sell goods, including cheese, crepes and pastries, at the ...
NEWS
August 26, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
It wasn't exactly love at first swipe, but my new Ventra fare card worked well enough for its first week of use. Last week, I tapped the card on buses and trains and at main and auxiliary station entrances. I kept it in my hand and left it in my clutch as I swiped it. I used a vending machine to load it and ventrachicago.com to register it. Overall, the card worked without incident when the fare readers were functioning - but that wasn't always the case. Of the more than a dozen buses I rode last week, three fare readers on three different...
NEWS
October 14, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
As the CTA continues its plan to convert its riders to the new Ventra fare collection system, the agency is winding down on another project: the reconstruction of the southern portion of the Red Line. Trains are expected to begin running along the Red Line between 95th Street and Roosevelt Road starting 2 a.m. Sunday. This section of the Red Line has been out of commission since May 19 as crews ripped up the tracks, laid new ones and made three stations accessible for riders with disabilities.
NEWS
September 30, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, RedEye
One negative about the new CTA fare payment system: negative balances on Ventra cards. Some CTA riders have complained to Ventra they have garnered negative balances on their cards despite having money on the card or an unlimited pass. Reader Mallory Rush told Going Public she had an active seven-day unlimited pass but received a negative balance after a bus ride. Another rider tweeted, "Wondering how I keep ending up negative on my Ventra card when I only use unlimited passes not cash.
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