My complaint to the CTA…

So, I’ve become that old guy who writes letters of complaint – this morning I dashed off a strongly-worded email to CTA. I work on Saturday mornings in Uptown, teaching, so I have to catch the Red Line and get off at Wilson. Now, every Chicagoan from the north side knows that Wilson was once a beautiful stop – the ceramic brick building is gorgeous – but the station itself has now fallen into severe disrepair – it’s ugly, dirty, and often smells of urine. Not only that but the platform is dingy, and appears to be rickety (though there have been no reported cases of injuries, so all is well).

Anyways, I’m all for repairs and upgrades to the Red Line, and am even alright if my service is disrupted – but just tell me.

On Saturday mornings for the past month, I’ve had to hop off on Sheridan, because the Red Line suddenly transforms into an express, and whizzes by all the stops past Sheridan, going all the way up to Loyola. I’ve gotten used to that and get up an extra half hour to make up for the lost time – I’ve even come to enjoy the walk.

This morning I got on the train at Clark/Division at around 7:20 in the morning – I know, ass crack of dawn – and settled in, and didn’t even put in my iPod, so that I could hear any announcements from the conductor. Well we went past Fullerton, Belmont, Addison, and as we turned the corner and approached Sheridan, I expected the conductor/operator to announce that the train wouldn’t be making anymore stops until Loyola. Well, there was no announcement. The door opened, that bell-thingy chimed to let us know that the door was closing and we pulled away. Gathering my things I waited as we approached the Wilson stop – and I watched the stop get smaller as we passed it, and then we passed all the other stops that followed – we made our way nearly to the end of the line, and I had to jump off the northbound and get on the southbound that was waiting for us at Loyola.

Now, I know what many of you may be asking – why didn’t you just get off at Sheridan?

Well, last week, I took the train and as we approached Sheridan, the operator was silent, and didn’t announce that we were at our last stop. And sure enough, when we got to Wilson, the doors opened and I was free. So, I naturally assumed that if last week we were allowed to get off at Wilson after not being told it’ll be closed, this week would be the same – apparently, my logic was flawed, though because even though we weren’t told of any stop closures, we still were ferried all the way north to Loyola.

So, the second question may be – why didn’t you check the CTA Website. Well, there you got me – I didn’t check the site because I got up at 6 in the morning to get ready and the last thing I want to do as I’m showering, dressing, getting my shit together, and trying to get out the door at a decent time is also booting up my laptop and looking for the update on CTA’s Website.

Another reasonable person may why I didn’t read any signs. Well, because at Clark/Division there are no signs to warn you of this development – there may be one of those Dry-Erase boards but that’s it. But the good and helpful news is that at Wilson, when you make your way down the stairs towards the turnstiles, the folks at CTA left a sandwich board informing us of the changes. Which was very helpful after I got off the train.

And as I said earlier, I don’t mind these changes – after all, CTA knows what its doing – but just let me know so I can respond and plan accordingly. I emailed the customer service and am awaiting a response. I’ve never emailed CTA a complaint – though there are many times I wish I had, so I’ll keep you updated on what the response is.


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