Chicago Transit Board

Chicago Transit Authority
Transportation

Wednesday, March 8, 2023
9:30 a.m. — 1:00 p.m. CST

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Remote

This is a remote assignment to cover the following meetings, starting at 9:30 a.m.:

  • Committee on Strategic Planning and Service Delivery Committee on Finance, Audit and Budget
  • Transit Board

The meetings will be live-streamed at https://www.youtube.com/user/CTAConnections/videos. The video may not appear until at or a few minutes after the scheduled start time. If you do not see it right away give it a few moments and try refreshing the webpage.

The assignment end time is an estimate based on the duration of past meetings.

Check the source website for additional information

Reporting

Edited and summarized by the Chicago - IL Documenters Team

Note-taking by Cordell Longstreath

Hiring plans, ghost buses, criticism of CTA

Live reporting by Will Reynolds

Hiring plans, ghost buses, criticism of CTA

Will Reynolds @willinois
Good morning! I'm live tweeting the Chicago Transit Board meeting, scheduled today at 9:30, for @CHIdocumenters #CHIdocumenters

09:29 AM Mar 8, 2023 CST

Will Reynolds @willinois 2/29
@CHIdocumenters I'm watching remotely. Live video is here: youtube.com/live/hcAKFNHkO…

Meeting agendas and other details: transitchicago.com/board/notices-…
Will Reynolds @willinois 3/29
They start with committee meetings before meeting as a full board.

The first committee approves eliminating a bus line, the 98 Avon Express. It was a recent discussion topic on reddit:
reddit.com/r/transit/comm…
Will Reynolds @willinois 4/29
For the next committee, CTA Chief Financial Officer Jeremy Fine makes a financial report. https://t.co/NPDkSOSClR
Will Reynolds @willinois 5/29
CTA relies on natural gas. Two board members brag about increased revenue and ridership in January. No other questions or concerns. https://t.co/SCqCcg2QOE
Will Reynolds @willinois 6/29
Next, a contract on "energy management services" to reduce costs for purchasing natural gas and diesel fuel. Jeremy Fine says it has been "very beneficial" for reducing costs of buying energy. They're helping move the bus fleet to electric. The firm is Shelton Solutions.
Will Reynolds @willinois 7/29
The committees approve everything and adjourn.
Next is the full Chicago Transit board meeting. It starts with public comments.
Will Reynolds @willinois 8/29
The first public speaker from ctaction.org talks about bus and train service cuts. Says blue line and other lines are getting worse, not better.
"President Carter and his team are playing you and the public for a fool."
Will Reynolds @willinois 9/29
The board secretary loudly disrupts the speaker with one minute and 30 second time warnings. Then quickly announces "that's time" to cut off the speaker and starts playing music to stop the comment. Wow.
Will Reynolds @willinois 10/29
CTA President Dorval Carter gives his report. The solution to service problems is hiring more staff. Responding to the public comment, he says they're using data he released. "I am not hiding this information or data."
Will Reynolds @willinois 11/29
Carter continues. "We are currently hiring more bus operators than we're losing to attrition." Another hiring fair happens Friday. "CTA his hiring. We offer great pay and benefits... If you're looking for a job, we hope we will see you at our job fair this Friday."
Will Reynolds @willinois 12/29
Carter says schedule adjustments will better align with how many buses and trains are running. Calls this increased reliability, but does not mean they're running more busses and trains. https://t.co/iKbjKjIbKr
Will Reynolds @willinois 13/29
Carter describes new live streams of blue line train stations as a way to give real time information.
abc7chicago.com/cta-train-trac…
Will Reynolds @willinois 14/29
Carter: Workforce struggles are not unique to CTA. It's a common problem in transit and the private sector. "Everyone is trying to hire as quickly as possible."

Bus gaps are down, "showing continued progress."
He's "encouraged by annual ridership growth."
Will Reynolds @willinois 15/29
Talking about unhoused CTA riders, they've contracted with two groups performing outreach work on the blue and red lines. "My goal is to continue to expand this outreach."
Will Reynolds @willinois 16/29
CTA and PACE (the suburban bus system) began working together to both accept unlimited bus passes.

Carter concluding his update, "We place a very high premium on being transparent on every step we take."
Will Reynolds @willinois 17/29
CTA President Carter repeatedly claimed during and since the pandemic that there were no service cuts. While that may be technically true by some narrow bureaucratic definition of "service cuts" it took public criticism to show major cuts in buses and trains running.
Will Reynolds @willinois 18/29
Carter says they're now hiring more employees than they're losing. "Stabilizing the workforce is the foundation to everything else we're trying to do here."
Will Reynolds @willinois 19/29
The board goes into closed executive session. They don't give a reason why other than citing a section of the open meetings act.
Will Reynolds @willinois 20/29
It's striking how defensive Carter and the CTA board are to criticism. Safety and reliability have been major topics during the mayoral election.
wbez.org/stories/cta-pr…
Will Reynolds @willinois 21/29
Coming out of closed session, the board votes to sustain the discharge of a CTA employee. They vote to release closed session minutes of previous years to comply with the open meetings act.
Will Reynolds @willinois 22/29
William Mooney gives a construction report. https://t.co/yMUm7nY3Nj
Will Reynolds @willinois 23/29
https://t.co/Ddf85TseCe
Will Reynolds @willinois 24/29
https://t.co/NgkDDuFVqF
Will Reynolds @willinois 25/29
https://t.co/sZBSbyOUgu
Will Reynolds @willinois 26/29
President Carter talks about using federal dollars and the RPM project for workforce opportunity programs and providing opportunities to disadvantage or historically marginalized businesses and workers.
Will Reynolds @willinois 27/29
Carter shows a video. These projects provide job opportunities in the communities CTA serves. https://t.co/QDIPl8d01T
Will Reynolds @willinois 28/29
Carter speaks with pride about using the CTA construction project to provide jobs to disadvantaged communities and pledges to do a bigger presentation to the board.
He works to find contractors that qualify as Disadvantaged Business Enterprises.
Will Reynolds @willinois 29/29
There's no discussion under new business. The Chicago Transit Board adjourns. This concludes my live tweeting for @CHIdocumenters

Agency Information

Chicago Transit Authority

To govern and administer the Chicago Transit Authority.

Remote meetings of the CTA board are live-streamed at https://www.youtube.com/user/CTAConnections/videos. The video may not appear until at or a few minutes after the scheduled start time. If you do not see it right away give it a few moments and try refreshing the webpage.

Documents

3/8/2023
3/8/2023

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