The amount of information on the internet, and the various ways to use it, continues to amaze me, and its only getting better.
It started after I read this article about how how the Chicao Transit Authority is once again having budget problems.
Tax revenues the CTA receives for its operating budget are estimated to fall below projections by $58 million for 2008 when the final figures for December are received and $155 million less than targeted for 2009 out of a $1.3 billion budget, according to Regional Transportation Authority documents obtained by the Tribune.
That was weird I thought. Didn’t they just raise fares within the last month? Wasn’t CTA ridership up five percent in the last year?
This caused me to start searching to see how much of these budget problems are the result of, well, unions and pensions. I didn’t find what I was looking for, but I did find this searchable database of CTA salaries. More than CTA Salaries however, it contains job and salary information for 157,000 Illinois state, Cook County, city of Chicago and CTA employees.
Moving on, I found the RSS feed page for the CTA. You can select any rail line or bus line and get alerts sent to you. You can take advantage of feeds by adding them to many modern Web browsers, e-mail programs, RSS/news aggregators, and customizable start pages offered by major Internet services.
Continuing my stumble, I found the Everyblock.com page for my neighborhood (and associated RSS feeds). What’s there you ask? Crime data, business reviews, real estate listings, business licenses and more. All easily digestable and updated daily.
And then, while I don’t have the iPhone, or any other smart phone right yet, here’s the iPhone widget to get the CTA BusTracker on the iPhone.
I don’t know. I just find all of this rather cool. And yet, with all the advancements in public transportation, especially the CTA Bus Tracker (congrats guys, you nailed a home run on that one), there’s one thing that still really bothers me. One thing that continues to grate on me as I use the bus.
Why does the bus need to stop at every corner? Why do we allow people to get on or off the bus basically wherever they want? How much faster would travel by bus be if we removed every other bus stop? How much less annoying?
The train doesn’t stop mid-station to let you off. Why should the bus?