Update, 11 January 2019: I used to be Testy McTesty about public transportation, didn’t I? To its overall credit, the CTA is a lot better these days, with a few lapses. Bus tracking smartphone apps are helpful. The announcements are still deafening, but as they say no one seems to mind. (Except me.)
An exchange with Customer Service at the CTA. Will post any follow-up.
Deafened in Chicago
On 8/5/05 7:33, CTA Help at firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Thank you for your complaints. We would like to look into the X28 problem you described, but we need to know what stop you are waiting for it along the route.
The route is the X28 southbound; I was waiting at Franklin and Jackson, south of the Sears Tower. A working bus came around 6:30 p.m.
Comparing it to the #151 and #156 buses doesn’t help us, because ridership on those other two routes is much higher than on the X28,
The X28 used to be standing room only, but the service has been consistently unreliable so most people have given up on it. Certainly 2-3 people did yesterday, which is not uncommon. Yes, now it is a barely used route. But it’s cause and effect.
As for the 156 and 151, I’ve taken them regularly when I had a volunteer job, and the ridership is not that high — I can always get a seat at any hour and stop — so I don’t think it warrants a bus every 5 minutes, as is often the case. They come so often that only 1-3 people board at the stop. I’ve gotten on South Side buses where 15-20 people are waiting at each stop. Does anyone from the CTA ever ride any of these buses?
so there will always be more of them as long as the current ridership patterns hold true; any transit agency must allocate its resources based on where its customers actually are traveling.
On the other hand, when a bus makes an appearance at irregular intervals, maybe twice in an hour during rush hour, if that, the ridership is bound to disappear, as has happened. Which is why I suggested canceling it since it is virtually useless — or commit to it. I can’t depend on it to get me home within a reasonable time any more, nor can all those people who’ve given up using it. And yet it’s convenient for the many of us who work in the growing West Loop.
But this does not negate your complaint; 45 minutes is far longer than the scheduled frequency of X28 buses and we can review the service if you tell us where you wait for it. And if you have any further delays while we are investigating, please give us the specifics. The four-digit ID number of any bus with a malfunction, such as a non-working door, will help us find it more quickly.
It was hard to tell what the number was while struggling with the door, but shouldn’t the driver tell you the door doesn’t work? The employees should be responsible for reporting malfunctioning equipment.
We also need a bus ID number to check any report of the announcement system being too loud. We get very few complaints about overloud announcements on the buses and yours is the only recent one about this being a problem on the X28, so we would need to inspect any bus where you think it is a problem. None of the buses have the volume deliberately set at 100 decibels and we would repair any system that is louder than it should be.
No, that was a general complaint. EVERY bus route I’ve been on has overloud announcements. I wouldn’t mind seeing OSHA measure them. If I can hear them *clearly* while wearing ear protection, distinguishing every word with the steep hearing loss I have, and they hurt my ears without hearing protection, they are way too loud across the board. Just because people don’t complain doesn’t mean they don’t mind. People often have complaints they voice to each other but aren’t going to bother putting in writing. The best way to tell if they are too loud is to measure the decibel level, which is an objective measure.
The exterior announcements (the ones heard on the outside) are so loud on many buses I can hear them a block away. I’m glad I don’t live on a bus route.
—– Original Message —–
Sent: Thursday, August 04, 2005 7:38 PM
Subject: X28 on 4 August 2005 at 6:00 p.m.
Every afternoon between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m., I routinely wait 20-45 minutes for the southbound X28 bus, while in the same time span 8-12 151 and 156 buses will go by, with maybe 1-2 people getting on today. Today, an X28 bus came after 20 minutes, but the front door would not open fully, and although the driver told me, “You have to pull it,” I couldn’t pull it open enough to get on. Why was a bus allowed to operate in that condition?
So I had to wait for the next bus, which came 45 minutes later. By then, people had taken cabs. This is ridiculous. Either cancel it or run it at least as reliably as those other buses. It took me two hours to get home from work — it should take no more than 45-60 minutes. And there was no traffic issue downtown or on Lake Shore Drive, either direction.
On another note, I’m hearing impaired and, even with hearing protection (worn because the recorded bus announcements are so loud), I can clearly hear them. That means they are loud beyond my hearing loss plus the 33 decibels of hearing protection. I would guess them to be 100 decibels at least, quite possibly more. They are ear shattering on most buses. That is far, far too loud (and an occupational hazard for the drivers). Can they be lowered to something reasonable, like under 50 decibels? They make the bus ride very unpleasant (ironic given that one says to be considerate while talking on your cell phone so as not to disturb other customers — no one on a cell phone has ever been as disturbing as constant nagging in your ear at 100+ decibels.