I ride the train to work. It's a smart business. Costs me $5 per day, round trip, let's me unwind or gear up, depending on if I'm going or coming from my job, and so long as I'm commuting at certain times of the day, I don't deal with too much craziness. I can plan accurate time projections of my commute and don't have to deal with traffic hazards and a general collection of human stupidity.
However, this has all changed since the CTA started repairing the Blue Line. Nearly every weekend they have certain stations completely shut down and buses to take you between them. In theory it seems like a fabulous idea, but in practice, it is a massive supercell of shit storm. It already takes me roughly 2 hours to get to work, but with CTA's fabulous planning, lazy employees, and the veritable hell that is Chicago's Northside traffic, my commute gives me night terrors. Why?
It would seem that you would just hop off the train and hop on a bus and it drops you at the next operating trains station, only 10 or 20 minutes behind schedule. But no. All those pros for commuting with public transit go flying out the window when you add a dash of Northside traffic insanity. There is no feasible detour to circumvent the delays caused by walnut-brained morons who somehow got driver's licenses. Furthermore, the actual CTA employees who are placed there for the sole purpose of directing commuters to the location of the shuttle do so in the most blase, unconcerned manner possible- which is to say, NOT AT ALL.
So, not only do you have to deal with stupid, ridiculous Northside traffic, but you also have to deal with sidewalk traffic jams because there's no clear signage and the employees who should be helping things run smoothly have their thumbs jammed up their butts. Oh, and there's tons of folks in cars jamming up the traffic even worse because they're so stupid that every time they see more than 5 people standing on a corner, they have to stop driving and stare at you.
The shit frosting on the crap cake is CTA's greed during peak hours. They require passengers, who have already had a frustrating journey from one train station to the next, to go fishing through their bags to find a damn transit card so they can swipe it AGAIN to get back on a train that under normal circumstances they would have never left. Nice Job.
I wouldn't be so upset if CTA was never able to do this successfully before. But they were, last summer, between the SAME EXACT TRAIN STATIONS. Last year, there were tons of CTA employees directing you where you need to go, there was appropriately and smartly placed signage to direct passengers, we were not charged a second time to reboard the Blue Line, AND we had to navigate through the busiest and narrowest of Wicker Park's streets. This was done so efficiently that there was only a 10 minute delay.
This year, CTA seems to have forgotten everything that went right last year as they restarted repairs.
I end up spending 45 minutes to an hour in traffic traveling between train stations. A good 50% of the delay is from commuter confusion, another 25% of it is due to the completely STUPID policy of having people swipe their transit card AGAIN to REBOARD the train, and the final 25% is the only bit that's actually associated with the detour- including passengers boarding the shuttle, getting themselves seated and helping the inevitable handicapped person or luggage toting family get themselves situated. RIDICULOUS.