Thursday, February 22, 2018
Chicago’s Mayor Offers Advice on Mass Transit Service, And Readers Square Off

NEW YORK, NY July 3 (DPI) – The New York Times today handed the stage to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who in an op-ed asserted the city’s “L” mass transit system is a good example of properly maintained and reliable urban infrastructure, an example that other cities, particularly New York and Washington, could learn from.

Such an assertion and such comparisons set off a small (>250 comment) but passionate reaction from readers, all of whom seemed to cluster around several themes: 1) You can’t compare the New York and Chicago transit systems, since the latter hauls 7x as many passengers annually with 4x the track mileage, 2) Mayor Emanuel is taking credit for something that ran perfectly well before he got there; 3) Mass transit is a small matter in Chicago, given the state’s and city’s financial problems and a high-profile – if not necessarily high – homicide rate; 4) Readers who identify themselves as Chicagoans will post on a NY Times comment board and happily joust with New Yorkers; 5) All US mass transit systems can’t match those in Europe.

The most popular comments:

Both Chicago and NYC take a backseat to the Paris Metro, which provided 1.5 billion rides last year at a level of comfort and efficiency that should make all US passengers envious!

In this era of unrelenting bad news, to hear that something is actually working in America – and trains (gasp), public transportation no less (clutches pearls) – is almost moving.

Comparing the Chicago L to the NYC Subway System is absurd. NYC has four times as much track, three times as many routes and 7-and-one-half times as many annual passenger trips as the Chicago system with only 2.5 times the GMP and more than triple the population.

I lived in New York for 12 years and rode the subway daily, before moving to Chicago last year. Rahm is actually probably underselling how much better the CTA is run and maintained. It’s more reliable, cleaner, and modernized. And in the rare instance when something goes wrong, the conductors actually make announcements as if you’re a human being, not a wooden dummy that MTA employees are apparently convinced they are carrying around. It’s a night and day difference. Every single morning when I board the L, I thank God I never have to deal with the MTA ever again. There is no quick fix for the massive and worsening transit issues in the NYC area. Businesses would we wise to consider this as they plan for the future. Chicago is still the city that works.



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