Analysis: Absent Employees Making For Long Delays On CTA

UPDATED 10/04/11 12 noon

CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Transit Authority president Forrest Claypool says the agency is doing what it can to end the rampant employee absenteeism that can lead to long waits for passengers.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports, the performance data analysis by the Chicago Tribune finds the problem is worst on Mondays and Fridays, when the Chicago Transit Authority has had to cancel runs for buses and ‘L’ trains.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports

The CTA cites a manpower shortage as the most common reason for canceled service.

Claypool blames the union contract for the problem.

“There are work rules that are just absurd,” he said.

Within the contract restrictions, Claypool says the city is doing what it is within its power to end chronic absenteeism. He says the agency is looking to reward workers who routinely show up.

“We want to reward those hardworking employees who stand by our customers every day, not the ones who game the system with the help of ridiculous union work rules,” Claypool said.

Claypool says it is costing the CTA $40 million this year to call in fill-in workers when the regularly scheduled bus and train drivers are out.

The Tribune analysis said the the greatest number of canceled runs likely caused by absenteeism between January and August were on No. 86 Narragansett-Ridgeland bus route, an outlying route that runs from Devon and Milwaukee avenues on the Northwest Side to the Ridgeland Green Line stop in Oak Park.

But several lines that run into downtown and serve densely-populated lakefront or Near West Side neighborhoods also stood out for missed runs, including the No. 66 Chicago Avenue, the No. 151 Sheridan, and the No. 22 Clark the Tribune reported. The No. 82 Kimball-Homan, serving the West and Northwest sides, also made the list.

Among train lines, the Blue Line suffered the greatest number of missed runs, with nearly 1,000 between January and August, the Tribune reported. The Red Line – the system’s busiest – was also cited for missed runs, with 873 in the time period.

The Tribune says Blue Line trains running from O’Hare to Forest Park were canceled most often between 7 and 9 a.m. and between 3 and 5 p.m., and buses were hardest hit between 6 and 8 a.m. and between 2 and 5 p.m.

  • Just Axin

    How about making them permanently absent by privatizing CTA? A private company won’t put up with their BS. I doubt most employees deserve $75k and great benefits for driving a bus (school bus drivers do a decent job and get what, $15/hr?) Of course, Rahm would never anger the black community by privatizing.

    • Not Rahm or Obamas fault

      Why are dumb racist people so willing to comment even on the smallest of stories. SNL had a great sketch about you people last Saturday. Check it out, everyone. It’s all about ” Just Axin”……..funny stuff.

    • Shadaie

      I agree, we wouldn’t want to hurt the feelings of the black community, they’ve been held down by whitey for long enough already!!

  • Just Axin

    Obama Lover- it’s obvious that you don’t live in the real world. Politicians don’t like to mess with the group that screams the loudest and unfortunately, race is involved in many decisions. Rahm will try to privatize streets and sans, but would never touch a mostly black force. Sounds like you don’t really keep up with events as you’re glued to your TV….nice life.

    • Not Rahm or Obamas fault

      Please watch the SNL sketch about you. It’s good! I think Hulu has it. Also, stay in the suburbs…please!

  • CTA Budget Crisis May Require Fare Hikes « CBS Chicago

    […] Claypool is also hoping to get rid of “ridiculous union work rules” that he blames for chronic driver absenteeism, which forces the agency to cancel bus and ‘L’ train runs. […]

  • CTA Cutting More Than 100 Jobs « CBS Chicago

    […] Last month, a Chicago Tribune analysis discovered that rampant employee absenteeism had led to long … CTA President Forrest Claypool blamed the agency’s union contract and “work rules that are just absurd” for the problem. […]

  • Claypool Still Hinting At Possible CTA Fare Hike « CBS Chicago

    […] Last month, a Chicago Tribune analysis discovered that rampant employee absenteeism had led to long … Claypool blamed the agency’s union contract and “work rules that are just absurd” for the problem. […]

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