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RTA Boss Backs CTA Plan To Change Work Rules

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CTA 'L' Train (File Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

CTA ‘L’ Train (File Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – The head of the Regional Transportation Authority said Thursday that he backs the CTA’s decision to demand major changes to work rules — and impose fare hikes and service cuts if talks fail.

Riders have told WBBM Newsradio they they do not believe the work rule changes are doable, and one asked if it wouldn’t have been more honest to simply cut service and raise fares Jan. 1, rather than double up in July.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts Reports

RTA Chairman John Gates said doing so would be “irresponsible.”

“I think that even more irresponsible would be to go to the public and say we’re going to cut your service and give you a very large fare increase without doing what we can to reduce our costs and mitigate that as much as possible. I think (raising fares and cutting service now) would be the more irresponsible alternative,” Gates said.

CTA President Forrest Claypool told the RTA board that he would look at “service cuts and layoffs first, fare hikes second.”

CTA, metra and Pace each took a different approach toward budgeting for 2012. Only Metra has opted for an immediate fare hike, with increases averaging 25.1 percent taking effect Feb. 1. Gates said each approach to budgeting for 2012 is sound.

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