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London bus, subway bombings spur extra CTA security

After the bombings of three subway trains and a bus in London today, CTA officials were putting additional security into place, the Chicago Tribune reports.

As usual, passengers are being asked to be alert for suspicious-looking, unattended packages. Still, a Chicago spokesperson said the city had not received any information "to suggest Chicago would be a target."

Perhaps this is a good time to review all CTA security plans, including the silly dogs who walk the platform looking for God-knows-what (not on the trains, mind you), while bored CTA security and Chicago police mope along behind them.

Comments

Don't forget the suburban cops too. There was an Oak Park police officer at my stop in the morning. I don't think he knew what he was looking for but he sure looked bored.

The stuff happening in London is so scary. It would be so easy to have it happen here. I'm sending good thoughts to the Londoners and their families and friends.

I saw the article, and would have laughed, had it been a different day.

I take the Red line from Granville all the way to Jackson, and the only extra CTA employees I saw were some women scraping gum off the platform at Granville. We had one longer than usual stop at Wilson, but that was it. Of course, I don't know why, because the intercoms weren't working anywhere on my train. Had there been an emergency, we wouldn't have been able to hear any instructions.

Thanks very much, CTA.

At about 9:30 this morning, north and southbound trains on the Brown Line were stopped and power cut due to "police action at Damen."

There was an inbound train stopped just sort of the Irving Park platform.

Didn't see any (other) evidence of increased or different security.

I can only imagine the string of buck passing that would happen here if the CTA were targetted by terrorists.

The idea that these slackjawed pinheads are responsible for my safety gives me the shakes.

I'm glad the bike facility opened at Millennium Park since I can now bike to and from work occasionally, thereby slightly reducing my chances of breathing flame and shrapnel.

JK: I agree with you completely. I'm terrified to commute home today, not for fear of a terrorist attack, but for fear of what will happen on a train if it does and my lack of faith in the CTA to DO ANYTHING!

And the police action at Damen was a worker who got hurt, it's on the Trib's site

I've seen people try to alert the bus driver when they find some "unattened package", usally a grocery bag, or someone's lost backpack. The driver either ignores them, or tells them to shut up. I don't know why they bother with that announcement.

I was extra vigilant during my commute downtown this morning.

The northbound 93 California bus was stopped one block north of Lawrence (I assume it was the 7:20 a.m. from Kimball), and when someone else waiting at the stop asked the driver why, the driver said she was "waiting for the police." I only saw a few people on board, and didn't see anything obviously wrong, but I didn't feel like bugging the driver about it.

(On a security note, if it was the 7:20 bus, it took the police over 10 min to show up.)

Anyway, I feel terrible about the London explosions and wish everyone there well.

I don't live in Chicago anymore, but I did for many years, and took the CTA daily. After 9/11 I remember everyday during the evening rush hour being more and more terrified to be in the subway. I knew that nothing was really being done to protect us. I got to the point where I would be filled with dread and would have trouble breathing (stench aside). That was almost four years ago, Madrid ago, now London ago, and still, I believe nothing really will change. (shiver) I miss Chicago, but I don't miss that. At. All.

I must admit I walked to the Red Line this morning with a little trepidation and considered transferring to the Brown or Purple Lines to avoid going into the subway (even though it would add three blocks to my walk to work). I decided that there was a greater chance of the Brown Line derailing than a bomb going off in the Red Line subway.

I personally think that we would be surprised by the response of CTA employees in an emergency. About a year ago, I was on a SB Red Line train, going to work, when the AC unit (at least I think it was the AC, it was the box under the inward facing seats) in our car started shooting sparks and spewing acrid smoke. The passenger sitting nearest the call button alerted the operator (by screaming hysterically that we were all going to die of smoke inhalation!). We pulled into the next stop and the operator (a very small woman) RAN down to our car (which was empty by that time), opened a compartment to flip a switch off, asked us if we were all okay and then RAN back to the front car. The whole thing took about a minute. I was extremely impressed. Luckily this wasn't too serious of an incident, but I think that the operator would have kept her cool even if it was more serious.

I forgot to mention the main reason that I was posting!

My prayers are with the Londoners affected by these incidents. London recovered from much worse in WWII and they will do just fine now. It is truly the world's greatest city!

Matt, that's interesting. On 9/11, I decided staying on the Brown Line would be safer than transferring to a subway, so that's how I came to work that day.

Matt, it may be true that individual CTA employees would do a great job in an emergency. I have no doubt, that somewhere, each and every day, a CTA employee actually earns his or her paycheck. Honestly though, I know I'm being sarcastic. I'm on record as saying that I think bus drivers are generally underpaid.

However, the problem with the CTA is not in the actions (or, in-actions as is usually the case...) of the average vehicle operator or maintenence worker. No the CTA is the embarrassing wreck that it is because of entrenched incompetence in management, right up to the highest levels.

Management's failure to motivate its employees is repeated every day. Their failure to manage their budget effectively is repeated every day. Their failure to offer any vision for transit's role in Chicago is repeated every day. You have hundreds, maybe THOUSANDS, of managers in the CTA. How many actually exhibit ANY leadership capability to justify being promoted to 'manager'? More to the point, how many have the requisite education to do anything more than make excuses and coddle their lackluster employees? You can say the same thing about most corporations but at least corporations have some oversight. The CTA isn't accountable to ANYONE!

Do you really trust THESE lazy, mediocre political hacks to not only come up with an effective disaster response plan, but to also thoroughly prepare their underlings to carry it out? Right now they can't motivate their employees to communicate slight delays or changes of schedule to customers. Why would they suddenly be able to sharpen the rank and file's communication skills in the event of some catastrophe? After having to evacuate from a burning highrise last year (135 S. LaSalle), the point that repetitious training and communications are critical in an emergency was driven home with pristine clarity.

Only with an effective plan, numerous practice repetitions of said plan, and ample motivation to listen and execute can minimize damage during a crisis. Reactions have to become second nature, automatic. CTA management has proven time and again that they cannot be trusted to consistently get their employees to perform.

Usually, we're ONLY talking about late and missing trains/buses, filthy facilities and vehicles, surly and obnoxious customer service, and the like. When it comes to the possibility lives being lost due to a systematic shortage of vision and skill, I think the time for hand holding and apathy is over. Or maybe we should just wait for a disaster and cross our fingers...

wow. i know i have emotional shutdown in my life... hard to explain...

and i didn't find out about the london thing until i got to work.

but i just don't even think about that stuff. on 9/11/01, i went to work without a thought of it. and i will go home on the subway tonight without a thought of it.

living in fear is how they get you. fuck it, i'm just not going to worry about it. i mean, really. i can't do that. truly.

Jocelyn--exactly. Because other than demanding an accounting from the CTA and the city of EXACTLY what provisions they've made to make sure this won't happen here, there's not much we as individuals can do. And we certainly can't do that while in transit.

Once you're on that targeted train or bus--what can you do about it? You're there. Unless you're the one who sees them put down the bomb and pull out the detonator, and unless you've got that "let's roll" thing going on--all you can do is survive what happens next.

We have to get to work--why stress about something we can't influence?

(All the same, I was glad today was my day to have the car.)

I'm sure the terrorists have already figured it out, but if they disguise bombs as a dead pigeons, they have until Jon Hilkevitch finds out about them to plant them all ovver the system. They could probably even keep track of where they've put them by posting in Carole Brown's blog.

All the alert citizens, and all the police in the world won't help if no one at CTA pays attention when something is reported to them.

While the atrocities in London made many commuters in Chicago a bit nervous (in general) what really made me uncomfortable was watching the local news. I almost screamed as the mayor was speaking and the camera captured CTA poobah, Frank Kruesi, not even paying attention but instead looking at his cell phone to check messages or maybe playing a game. Hey Frank, thanks for your concern for our safety! YIKES! Can't somebody fire that guy?

If you are that scared to used public transportation, then DON'T. There are several other options available to you. Of course, it's easier for you to sit here and complain about it in a blog...

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