Thursday, June 22, 2006

Shorter Bus?

The CTA's answer to those skinny city streets (only took them, oh, 60 years to figure this out) is a 30 foot bus. The Tribune reports on the Mini Me bus:
"The Chicago Transit Authority will begin running new 30-foot buses—the shortest in the fleet—in Hyde Park this summer, making it easier for bus operators to navigate the South Side neighborhood's narrow streets." "The shorter buses will be easier to maneuver through narrow streets, but they have fewer seats. The Optimas will have 23 seats; the Orions have 39 seats, same as the new 40-foot New Flyer buses that will be put in service this year, CTA officials said."
(Photo from the Chicago Tribune)
I've been tough on the CTA lately, mostly due to unpredictable travel times. It's been in the news too, where there are no buses for 30 minutes, then 3 come along back to back. As a real estate agent, I take public trans less and less... but still manage to take the "L" train as often as I can. For instance, I live in Albany Park, but play volleyball at Oak Street Beach a couple evenings a week. So, I work from home those days (or leave my car in a safe spot at the office) and take the Brown Line to the Red Line transfer... then down to the Chicago stop for a short walk to the beach... past some of the most awesome real estate in the city and country.
Not bad... from Albany Park, I'm there under an hour. Seems long? But no hassle and I read all the way. From the office, maybe 20 minutes!
Back to buses. I just wrote earlier in the week about noise and toxic exhaust from the buses... when either walking or driving behind these things it's bad news... period. The Tribune also reports on the NEW features of the buses coming on line:
"The Optimas have several features, such as a trash can and wider seats, that will be included on the New Flyer buses."
Wow... I remember trash cans and wider seats on the Jetsons as a wee youngster... and it has all come true! Nothing about the new buses flying above traffic or featuring... I don't know, maybe electric engines. But you get trash cans and wider seats for the high school kids jumping on your lap as you take the Foster bus to Andersonville.

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