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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:16pm
Thu May 5, 2016

Ventra Puts Financial, Administrative Burdens On Chicago-Area Social Service Providers, Report Finds

Chicago-area social service providers that offer transit assistance to their clients want some relief from the financial and administrative challenges they claim to face when using Ventra, the regional fare-payment system.

That's according to a new survey-based report by the Chicago Jobs Council, a coalition of organizations, businesses and individuals focused on improving access to employment opportunities for people living in poverty.

Fifty-three social service providers, funded by multiple city of Chicago and Cook County agencies, participated in CJC's survey about their experiences with Ventra. The providers operate various programs, including workforce initiatives, and serve youth, the homeless and other individuals in need, according to CJC.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:19pm
Mon Feb 9, 2015

Report: Chicagoans Have Access To 'Abundant' Tech-Driven Transportation Options

Out of the nation's 70 largest cities, a recent report ranks Chicago as the 14th best when it comes to the availability of "technology-enabled" transportation tools and options that make it easier for people to travel without owning a vehicle.

For its study, the Illinois PIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group examined whether residents in the 70 U.S. cities have access to 11 various transportation technologies, including those used to hail taxis and share rides, cars and bicycles. Researchers also looked at the availability of real-time transit information; transit scheduling and routing data; multi-modal transit apps; and virtual transit ticketing, allowing riders to pay for fares via smartphones.

"None of these options even existed a few years ago, and the trend is just beginning," Abe Scarr, director of the Illinois PIRG Education Fund, said in a statement. "Technological advances are giving people new and convenient ways to get around more freely without having to own a car."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:31pm
Mon Feb 10, 2014

Reports: Universities Lead In Transportation Strategies; Northeastern Illinois Suffers From Transit Deserts

American colleges and universities are leaders when it comes to creating new transportation models designed to reduce driving, according to a new report released by the Illinois Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) Education Fund.

But while it may be easier getting around various college campuses in Illinois without a car, that is not necessarily the case in other areas of the state, shows a seperate report submitted to the Northeastern Illinois Public Transit Task Force.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
11:39am
Wed Dec 4, 2013

RTA Far From Achieving "World-Class" Public Transit System, Experts Say

The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) has a lot of work to do if the northeastern Illinois public transit network it oversees plans on becoming a "world-class system" anytime soon, panelists said at a discussion on the topic Tuesday at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).

The RTA is the oversight agency for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra and Pace, covering Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties. The agency was created in 1974 and was reformed in 1983 and 2008.

Stephen Schlickman, who served as RTA's executive director from 2005 to 2010 and currently heads up UIC's Urban Transportation Center, said RTA's multi-agency structure "isn’t working as well as it should be." He noted that regional public transit systems in other U.S. metro areas are typically organized as one agency. The region's current transit structure has four governing boards, for the RTA, CTA, Metra and Pace, with 47 members.

"There is a serious lack of accountability when you have such a complex structure," he stressed. "We have complexities, not only in governance, but also in service overlap, in capital planning and programming, in the equities in the allocation of our finances. These topics defy public understanding."