Tag Archive | Chicago

TTC Absence Data, Absent TTC Content

A recent article in Chicago’s RedEye examined a possible link between chronic absenteeism and longer than usual wait times for rider during peak times. In particular,

The odds of experiencing a bad commute on the CTA are greater on Mondays and Fridays and during the run-up to rush periods, all because of canceled buses and trains, a Tribune examination of performance data has found.

A break down of the data found that the majority of cancellations occurred between 6 and 9 a.m. in the morning and 4 to 7 p.m. in the evening, coinciding nicely with peak rush.

CTA management and unions both recognize absenteeism is a significant issue, but each side is (not surprisingly) blaming the other for high absence rates.

So how does the TTC stack up? Well, the answer is not terribly clear based on what I have been able to track down in terms of TTC absence rates.

After reaching out to the TTC’s Chief Customer Service Officer, Chris Upfold, over Twitter, he emailed me the chart below.

Click to enlarge

Now, I’ve never claimed to be a statistician. In fact, I barely squeaked through by research statistics course in grad school. Given that, I felt like there wasn’t much I could wring from this chart. But, between the brains of my wife and the brains of my stats nerd work friend, I figured I could do some rough approximations.

With an almost 8 per cent absence rate in 2011, assuming a 365 day work day, I figured that this roughly equals almost 33 absences (365 x 9% = 32.85). Compare that to CTA’s 39.5 and…what?

There’s a fair number of assumptions in the TTC figure (all TTC employees compared to CTAs drivers only figure, for example). And even knowing this number and that the TTC figure is lower, where does that leave us?

That’s where I’m stuck. Without cancellations figures for the TTC (that I could find through internet digging) I don’t really have much to go on.  That, fair readers, is where I’m hoping you’ll come in.

If anyone out there can take this and build on it, please do! And let me know what you come up with, I’ll be interested to learn more.


I am the 2453rd Fastest Person in Chicago

by Jimsey

So this is a bit of a “dear diary” post. I know we don’t have many on TRR so bear with me. Sunday I was feeling saucy so I decided to run the Shamrock Shuffle 8k in Chicago (Well technically I felt saucy back in February when I registered). It gets billed as the largest 8k event in the world with 36,000 entrants. So that’s neat I suppose.

This was my first real race ever. Sorry Grosse Ile, your little 5k, which I ran hungover, registered while smoking and placed 2nd in my age group, doesn’t count.

Few thoughts:

First, I was not at all prepared for the pace of the race. More specifically the start. I’m a jogger, and I consider myself to keep a fairly decent pace. As soon as the air horn went, I wanted to tell everyone to slow down. For some odd reason I was placed in Coral A (the second group to start, behind the “elites”), so that probably didn’t help either. I still have no idea how I ended up there.

Second, while the race was through the streets of the loop, I don’t think I enjoyed it that much. Its not like I didn’t have time to enjoy myself, it just didn’t do anything for me. We ended up on all the boring streets, sorry Kinzie and Franklin. Though I did wave “hi” to work.

Third, I hate you weather. Friday was 61 (16c). Sunday was 33 (1c) and damp. At least it wasn’t raining or snowing like it did on Saturday, or like last year’s shuffle which I pussed out on.

Fourth, I feel like I left something out there. My typical distance in my leisurely jogs is around 12km. That combined with the pace of this event made me have no idea how to pace myself. The final km was hilarious. Seeing the finish line, I broke into a full stride sprint passing about 100+ people in the process. Maybe I’m an ass for doing it (I didn’t see anyone else doing it) or maybe I’m an ass for not pacing myself correctly. Oh well, life goes on.

Yes, that's me. Go Stretchypants Go.

Fifth, I’m used to jogging in the evening. 9am running is not cool. On my running days here, I have a very planned routine including meal times. When you aren’t used to scheduling your meals for a 9am run, you end up doing a second full sprint home to clean that mess out (if you know what I mean).

Finally, It was pretty freakin’ neat hearing the footsteps of thousands of people crunching along together. For quite a few sections it was just us in a giant posse.

Regardless, I can cross this off my Chicago to-do list. Oh, and I absolutely loved the hundreds of dirty looks for lighting up a cigarette after I got my bag out of gear check. Oh, and 38:01 was my time.

Small update to add this image ripped from the Shuffle’s Website:

Such a mass of people

New Cyclist

by Jimsey

So I finally got around to buying a bike. I’m a huge pedestrian/transit fan, and biking seemed like the next logical step. I wanted to write this post to share some of thoughts from my first day riding.

  1. Riding home I was originally scared shitless. Having really haven’t ridden a bike since I was in college, and never haven ridden in a big city street setting, I was quite nervous on the way home. Don’t get me wrong, Chicago has bike lanes on all the major roads to give me some breathing space. But until you cruise down S. Western with traffic zipping by at or around the 35 mph speed limit, its hard to prepare yourself. Read More…

Make That 180

by Jimsey

Chicago Tribune Article

Update to our friend from the last post. Apparently this time he’s been nabbed for being a little more than slightly aggressive. I wonder if this is representative of the other 178 arrests, or if this is rare and he’s more or less getting slaps on the wrist for just simply panhandling on the CTA?

178 Arrests?

By Jimsey

Frankly, I’m not sure what to make of this article. First a few highlights for those who don’t like to read:

1) Clarence Ervin is a known panhandler on the Lake Street Elevated portion of the Green Line

2) This man has been arrested 178 Times (not all for panhandling).

3) Charges have been dropped around 130 Times

4) He’s been charged about 25% of time (often without him present)

5) Some Riders are scared of him, some are not

6) He averages about $55 a day panhandling.

Like I said, I’m not sure where to begin. Do we blame him? Do we blame the police and court system? Do we blame Veteran’s Affairs? Should I get into panhandling? Do we blame those who keep giving him money? Do we blame the CTA?

Any thoughts?

Transit Tats

by Ben
I’ve often said that I’ve never really been able to think of anything I liked enough to want to get it permanently tattooed to my skin.   At least I didn’t until I saw this:

Props to Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space for the tip

That’s right, a transit map.  On a foot. Chicago’s, no less.

If I were single I’d date this person right now, funky toenails and all.

Caption This Photo!

by Jimsey

Create a caption for this photo! Put your wit to the test! No prizes will be given!


Just a little quick background for those of you who don’t recognize the background. That’s an active demolition of the Cabrini Green Projects, one of the more infamous in America.

Snow Shoveling Snobbery

by Jimsey

An article from the Chicago Tribune prompted this. In short, The Active Transportation Alliance (note: I’m doing this from memory since their website is down), a pro bike/foot/bus/train organization is encouraging residents to post a flyer on neighbor’s doors of those who shovel snow or who do not. I don’t need to lecture anyone here on the issues involving uncleared sidewalks, but I definitely grumble and I definitely remember those who don’t shovel. As an active jogger and car independent person, I constantly rely on sidewalks, and more importantly, clear sidewalks for my livelihood.

Now since I cover a lot of sidewalk in my average week, I do certainly notice the routine offendors who don’t shovel. Instead of a flier approach that Active Transportation takes, I do a few things:

1) If I’m out jogging/walking and I actively see somebody shoveling, I say “thanks for shoveling!” in passing.

2) Businesses that do not shovel will never, ever see a dollar of my business. For example, Niko’s Gyros will never see me as a customer, in winter or any season. Resurrection Health, St. Elizabeth Hospital’s  physician offices on Western Ave will never see me  pay a visit (oddly, the actual hospital’s campus was fine).

3) When it comes to residents who don’t shovel, there’s really only one thing I do: dump my cigarette buts in your treelawn. Two doors down from me is a newer 2-unit condo building. I have seen the residents, they both appear young and able, thus no excuses to clear the sidewalks. Lights are also constantly on, so I know they’re around. I hope they enjoy the tens of hundreds of cigarette butts they find in their tree-lawn come the spring thaw.

Am I little out of line on this? Perhaps, its still littering at the heart of it, but my small little social deviation brings me a smug sense of satisfaction.

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