The media has really whipped the public into a "feeding frenzy" and now the legislature is piling on. My reality as a daily Metra commuter just doesn't match what the media and legislature is telling me I'm experiencing. Have there been delays? Yes, but small. The only major delay was due to a pedestrian fatality (and that was only 40 minutes). Working for an airline in performance analysis, I can only wish our service this winter was as good as Metra's.
I think one big difference between a Metra commuter and a CTA commuter is as Metra commuters, we focus on the performance of "our" train. If it's 15 minutes late, we know it's 15 minutes late. But a CTA commuter usually has no idea what train or bus they normally take. If the trains are arriving at their boarding station 15 minutes late but operate every five minutes, they just get on the next train to arrive. They have no idea it's the train that should have been their 15 minutes earlier and they don't wait the 15 minutes for "their train". So long as journey time is as expected, they don't care that the whole system is running late as compared to the schedule only CTA employees really care about.
The reality is cold will cause problems and the cost of investing in infrastructure that can work more reliably in this kind of rare weather is hard to justify.
Communications has been a weak spot but that's also a matter of scale. A process for dealing with the more typical maximum of only one or two delayed trains at a time does not scale well to dozens of delayed trains. Do you employ a communications staff that 360 days a year does little so you have the staff to handle the load on the four or five days a year when things go really wrong?
But in the end, nothing yet has made me wish I was driving into the Loop rather than taking Metra.