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.
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.
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?
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?