Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Chicago is going to hell in a hand basket. We've got Cook County proposing a sales tax that will push us over 11 percent. Mayor Daley has offered up a budget with a ton of fee and tax hikes for a city that has the highest rate of inflation. Over at the Schadenfreude blog, Justin and his over achiever crew are coming up with a list of 500 new fees and taxes the city needs to consider to keep us in the black.

I'd like to use my forum to help the Chicago Transit Authority. The Doomsday budget scenario that will reduce the CTA to nothing more than a half dozen VW buses running every third Tuesday of the month is back on the table. I'd like to offer up the a few suggestions to end this drama once and for all:

1. Any CTA rider who refuses to walk to the back of a crowded bus, or into the middle of a crowded train, must pay a special, "I ain't moving my ass" surcharge, collected on the spot, each time a bus reaches over 75 percent capacity. If they neglect to pay, they will become identured servants of the CTA, thereby reducing labor costs.

2. Eliminate 9,000 of the 9,500 nearly empty buses that seem to run during rush hour to my one West side bus that get suburban commuters from their Loop jobs to their Metra trains and out of the city.

3. This won't save any money, but will make me feel better. If a bus driver is late, and he or she knows they're late, they have to say to their frustrated passenger, i.e. me, "Sorry dude, this is totally not my fault. I just work here. But if you hold on, and don't tell on me if I pass up everyone from Dearborn to Canal, maybe, just maybe I'll get you home by 7."

4. Buses and trains are filled with captive, bored consumers 24/7 in the city. Rent us out to marketers for focus groups and test audiences. I'd be more than happy to give Kraft my opinion on their latest concoction in exchange for reliable public transportation.

5. Buses and trains are filled with captive, bored crazy people 24/7 in the city. Rent them out to drug companies and university researchers for quick drug trials and human behavior studies. Also, the buses and trains are like petri dishes on wheels and rails. So why not, in exchange for federal dollars, let the CDC scrape the slimy, scabby crust that covers everything so they can be ahead of the curve on the next infectious "big thing."

Alright, I'm a little tapped out. Feel free to add your own, and you don't need to be from Chicago. We could use some fresh ideas.


Justin said...

Get rid of the "big earners". By that I mean the bus drivers that act like tour guides or sing to you. They probably make double what everyone else makes, right? And get rid of windows. Those are useless on buses.

t2ed said...

I think they should allow gambling on the bus. Poker, slots, keno, dice -- you name it. And sell drinks. In fact, just make all the buses completely mobile bars and they'd turn a profit very quickly.