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CTA proceeds with subway cell service project

Jon Hilkevitch, the Tribune's excellent transportation reporter, today reports about the CTA's $11.2 million effort to provide cell phone service in the subway tunnels.

He questions how the CTA can poor-mouth to the legislature while completing this seemingly worthless project. It's bad enough that people are already shouting into phones, and they're not even competing yet with screeching wheels echoing off tunnel walls.

Update: I just found the original press release the CTA issued about this in 2003.  This is from the last paragraph of the release:

"During the second phase, the CTA will solicit Chicago-area wireless service providers offering connection to the system, which will enable their customers to use their service in the subway and generate revenue for the CTA. The CTA will issue a Request for Proposal later in the year."

However, it doesn't look too good for that additional revenue, of so it seems.


I guess one could argue that the service would potentially increase safety for travellers, especially for those who have to wait a long time in subway stations for trains. However, there are customer service call buttons on the platforms and in each car to reach the motorman, so can the CTA really justify such a bold project when the basic infrastructure continues to crumble?

It's definitely more egg on their face at this point and at a critical time where they need to show that they deserve more funding.

I'm all for cell service down there for safety reasons. Call buttons are just plain inadequate, as they assume that, say, an assault victim can get to them.

Something tells me that the noise in the subway will keep most people from engaging in the kinds of chitchat they do when they're on a (comparatively quieter) elevated train.

Maybe they could limit it to 911/311 calls. It would be nice if most people wouldn't try to carry on calls in the tunnels after/if the service goes live, but you know that they will.

You're right about the call buttons on the platforms... I rarely see anyone respond to the calls. However the motorman is required to respond and has to check every car if a person doesn't talkback after the button is pressed.

Damn. I took solace in the 10 minutes I am underground and I don't have to hear some girl on her phone bitching or hear a cell phone ring.

jz--Because MEN never bitch, right? MEN never carry on like they're the most important person on earth because someone can't wait to talk to them about whatever.

Of course not.

Both are annoying. :)

gladys...I AM a woman. calm down.

I think that's so funny that everyone assumed I was a dude because I made a comment about another girl bitching on her phone. I should have continued making insensitive comments about women and see how far it would have gone :]

I think it is breathtaking that the CTA took on the risk for this project. If the CTA board truly has a deathwish to lay upon us the curse of people jabbering on their phones in the subways, at least they could have done what the Washington DC Metro did and auction the rights to put in the system off to a cell phone company. OK, so the fact that Verizon Wireless has the exclusive rights for it in DC doesn't do much for customers of firms that are incompatible with Verizon's system like Cingular and T-Mobile but at least the transit authority didn't pay for it.

That's so stupid, to waste money on something they don't need. Not only are they in such debt and pay employees money to do nothing and stand around, but they allow ignorant people to shout on the train, underground now! What the hell? The CTA is so ignorant.

To whomever posted on Feb 2 of 05', it is obvious that you dont know anything about how a transit system the size of the CTA is ran. Why, you dont even know the true meaning of the word ignorant ---- it is you the one who really is ignorant. Dummy

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» Cell phones on the "L" and the laughable budget crisis: Why the CTA is run by retards from jotsheet
I ride "L" (a.k.a. "El") to work every day—that's Chicago's local and near suburban train service. As part of my daily commute, I must endure the experience of listening to people's cell phone conversations. Let me state this clearly and unequivo... [Read More]

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