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America vs. The World

The big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart. — Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Raise some hell to fix the El


I ride the rails. I hop the bus. And I love it.

As long as I've been in cities with public transport infrastructure I've relied upon trains, buses and trolleys to get me where I need to go. I rode Boston's T to several jobs and more than several pubs. I still dream sweet dreams of Washington D.C.'s Metro (the best public transit in America). Now I enjoy climbing the rickety stairs to take Chicago's El train to work.

I've relied on red, orange, green, red (again), green (again), brown and red (for the third time) lines. And though I've been delayed, annoyed, pushed and squished, I've never been as frustrated by public transport as I am now.

Illinois' state, county and municipal authorities have failed to support Chicago transit, and now the CTA has little choice than to cut 39 bus lines and raise fares November 4, and again in January.

This is bad news for you.

You don't want me driving. And you don't want all my happy-go-Brown-line friends driving either.

There are tons of responsible Chicago public transit commuters. We switch lines. We take buses. We wait out delays and sit next to strangers. We stand up so elderly, handicapped or pregnant people may sit. Most of us listen to music at a reasonable volume. Even more of us avoid excessive cell phone use on the train. We take the CTA, the Metro and Pace.

We read the newspaper. We read books. We play cell phone poker. We sleep. We study. We giggle at funny announcements about using all the available doors. We work together to get help in emergencies. We public transit people are really quite civilized.

We're also helping you out, person who cannot take the bus or train. We're helping you and we're helping the Earth. We're good for Chicago traffic and good for humankind.

Whether you use the CTA is up to you, Chicagoans. But you benefit from the CTA and its ridership regardless. Call Governor Rod Blagojevich at 312-814-2121.

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Jeff Goldstein is a wanker.