Discussion related to commuter rail and rapid transit operations in the Chicago area including the South Shore Line, Metra Rail, and Chicago Transit Authority.

Moderators: metraRI, JamesT4

  by Tadman
Amen to that. My dog is living with my parents this summer so I can ride the Shore to our place in Michigan in weekends. I am not going to sit on I-94 Friday at 6pm any more.
  by do.right.today
This is an older thread, but the issues regarding Valpo's Chicago DASH bus service are still relevant. First, this service isn't going to steal any South Shore riders. For anyone who hasn't been on these buses, it may be hard to believe that they're actually less comfortable than the South Shore trains. Valpo city officials have done a fine job making sure that its ChicagoDASH bus service doesn't steal riders from any other service.

This link explains more: http://chicagodash.blogspot.com/
  by do.right.today
The story below underscores why Valparaiso's ChicagoDASH bus service (or the similar ones run by other NWI towns) won't be stealing many passengers from NICTD. Unfortunately, what these bus services may steal from the South Shore rail service is funding. And they'll be siphoning funds to provide an inferior, short-lived service. Valparaiso is already on that path (http://chicagodash.blogspot.com/). What could the South Shore do with an additional $10 million?
I'm hussling toward the ChicagoDASH's downtown Chicago stop at Franklin and Van Buren trying catch 4:33 bus leaving home to Valpo. The thermometer on the bank I just passed says it's 9 degree (probably three or four degrees on the high-side) and with the wind chill temperatures are well below zero. As I turn the corner onto Franklin, I see a group of some 15 people at street-side at the stop. For my usual bus - the 5:55 - a crowd at street-side means that the bus is arriving and since I've got a block and a half left, I pick up my pace. The bus, however, isn't just around the corner - it's still about five minutes away as I find out.

These are the kinds of conditions that send most people scurrying to find any indoor shelter, but not so with the 4:33 riders. There is a Subway Sandwich shop 20 feet from the bus stop. Some 5:55 riders wait in there on cold days; others huddle in doorways of stores closed for the evening. Interestingly, though, all of the 4:33 riders are standing in the open, exposed to the wind blowing down Franklin and none are moving from the curb.

I also sense that places in line seem to be particularly important, which also isn't the case for the 5:55 riders. When the bus finally pulls up, embarking riders actually enforce the queue by stepping in front of late arriving passengers. As I get on the bus, I see why the demeanor the these riders differ so noticeably from that of the later buses: This bus has just a few empty seats which means two things: Riders boarding first will be more likely to have a seat to themselves and avoid the pain the remaining riders will endure for the next hour and fifteen minutes from having to sit crammed in an aisle seat, knees jammed into the seat in front of you and no way to sit pain-free.

Why recount this? This incident provides a clear indication based on real behavior of just how painfully uncomfortable the ChicagoDASH buses are. We've all experienced the pain inflicted by bitter cold temperatures and winds that make conditions border on dangerous. However, riders of the ChicagoDASH buses would rather endure these pain-inflicting conditions (some riders clearly had gotten to the stop 10 - 15 minutes earlier and as we're boarding the bus, the guy in front of me mentions that he thinks his ears are going to fall off) than sit in an aisle seat on this bus.

We now have a real measure of just how poorly designed and painfully uncomfortable the ChicagoDASH buses are - we can now say that these buses are more painful that sub-zero temperatures. Given that that's the case, why won't the Valpo officials running the service do anything to make conditions better for their "customers?"

To make an error is one thing. To ignore it and pooh pooh riders' numerous complaints is another. Since none of Valpo's officials actually ride these buses it makes it that much easier for them to try to weather the storm until the can pass the buck to the RDA or whomever takes this service over. This approach would be irresponsible and unprofessional, to say the least.