Lake: Protesters Object to CTA Fare Hikes, Cuts to No. 11 Lincoln Avenue Bus

CTA Hearing Photo

Riders of the No. 11 Lincoln Avenue Bus made their message clear at the CTA hearing.
(Photo/Josclynn Brandon)

Lake Stop IconBy Josclynn Brandon
The Red Line Project

Posted: Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012

Protesters gathered outside the Chicago Transit Authority headquarters to march against fare hikes on Monday night, as the CTA board prepared for a public hearing to discuss its 2013 budget.

The budget proposes fare hikes to the daily, three-day, seven-day and 30-day passes, as well as an increase in single-ride fare for seniors and the disabled, all effective Jan. 14. The fare increases will not impact UPass prices.

Reconstruction of terminals, remodeling of buses and trains, and condensing of routes will also take place. CTA President Forrest Claypool says the 2013 budget “represents a no doomsday budget."

“There has been doomsday after doomsday after doomsday," he said. "Fare hikes, cuts, deficits, debt. We put that behind us with this budget in the last 18 months of the reforms.”

Close to 100 community and organization leaders, CTA riders and Chicago citizens attended a scheduled CTA budget hearing -- one of two leading up to the vote next Tuesday -- to address their concerns to the board.

Among the speakers was 47th Ward Alderman Ameya Pawar.

“To solve a fiscal issue only to create a social problem is not a solution at all,” Pawar said.

His other reason for attending: The No. 11 Lincoln/Sedgwick bus travels directly through Pawar’s ward. With the proposed budget, a large part of that route would be eliminated. The alderman was supported by several people from his ward who wore bright yellow shirts that read, “Save #11 Bus, It’s our lifeline”.

“Seniors in my community, parents, young parents with strollers; they’re not going to be able to walk the extra four or five blocks in the extreme heat or extreme cold,” he said. “Taking this bus line away is removing [a] critical info structure from my community.”

Pawar pleaded with the broad to keep the conversation going, with hopes to flush out proposals to see if there are other solutions to the CTA’s problems.

Former educator William Scott’s concern was for students.

“If economic hardships is confirmed just like federal lunches, they should have federal transportation for students who are trying to go to school,” he said.

While addressing the board, Scott told the story of a high school principal who was assisting her students by giving them money for a one-day CTA pass.

 “I think that’s pathetic for a student to have to go begging for a one-day, to go to school to go learn and take a class,” he said.

Claypool says a good thing about the budget, is that it proposes student fare cuts by 12.5 percent. And student fare cuts aren’t the only good news, he said.

“The good news is we can go ahead and move forward with modernization, system improvements, new technologies, a leaner management structure, and structural labor savings which help us bend the cost curve significantly over the next four years,” he said.

This fare price increase will be the first change in pass prices since 2009. Claypool says Chicago’s transit system is currently the second most discounted in the country, and this proposed change would bring the city to the middle of the pack. 

The board will vote on the 2013 budget on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. at the CTA headquarters located at 567 W. Lake St. There will be another public hearing prior to the vote on Monday at 6 p.m. at Westinghouse College Prep, 3223 W. Franklin Blvd. 

Video: Protesters in the 500 block of Lake Street oppose CTA fare hikes. (Video/Josclynn Brandon)

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