Friday, March 15, 2013

If I didn’t know better, I’d think there was a transportation-related conspiracy

As expected, the Chicago Transit Authority gave its approval this week to the implementation of a new system by which people would pay their fares for bus and elevated train rides.
Too costly a place to ride to, or park near?

One that would encourage people to pay larger sums of money up-front to purchase contactless cards. The way to persuade people to quit thinking in terms of paying for individual rides is to raise the fare – from the current $2.25 to $3 – for those customers.

OF COURSE, THOSE people catching an el train at O’Hare International Airport would get hit with a $5 fee for that single ride – all part of the rhetoric that says the only people who will really wind up paying the higher fare are those out-of-town tourists who decide to use the “el” during their Chicago visit.

As I wrote earlier this week, I sympathize with those activists who object to this new system, believing that people who rely on mass transit but don’t have the kind of cash to put up front into purchasing a card will get hit with the bulk of the higher fares.

I wasn’t shocked with the CTA approval. I would have been amazed if they could have been swayed.

But now I learn about how city officials also are considering changes in the fees that people pay when they use a downtown parking garage or lot.

AS IF THOSE fees weren’t already enough.

I know that the last two times I was in a situation where I had to drive an automobile into downtown Chicago and park it, I got hit with $34 fees – for leaving my car in a garage for not more than two hours each time.

CTA officials defended their own changes, in part, by saying that the new fare schedule will be complex – and that it is overly simplistic to portray anyone as having to pay an increased fare.

But after reading about the proposal made this week by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, I’m wondering if he’s determined to out-complicate the CTA.

FOR WHAT THE city has in mind, according to the Chicago Tribune, is to alter the taxes on parking fees from an escalating fee to a percentage-based system.

The people who literally are using the garages to park their cars for just a few minutes (or maybe up to 1 hour) could wind up paying less.

Like I wrote, my recent parking experiences in the downtown garages weren’t all that long – yet I still got whacked with what I consider to be a ridiculous fare. A fare that likely will be even higher when/if I get stuck paying it again.

All I know is that it truly discourages me from wanting to have my automobile with me when I have business to take care of in downtown Chicago.

YET THE THOUGHT of using mass transit to go downtown is something that could also become an expensive proposition.

I find Chicago’s downtown district too intriguing a place to want to avoid altogether (and I pity those people who claim they never set foot in or near the Loop). But it almost seems like certain people are determined to put financial obstacles to our ability to go downtown and stay there long enough to enjoy it!

You’d think these people with an interest in propagating the image of the city so as to bolster its economic potential to the max would be interested in avoiding moves such as these that wind up discouraging some people from wanting to come here.


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