PDA

View Full Version : Metra Throws Sox Fans A Curve


Wsoxmike59
04-28-2012, 12:25 PM
http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/12176755-522/quiet-metra-service-change-throws-off-sox-fans.html

This makes no sense at all. Build a $12M station near the ballpark and then cut service to it after the games! You can just tell Metra is a Gov't run agency. They just don't have a clue.

doublem23
04-28-2012, 12:28 PM
I ****ing hate Metra, though, I can't blame them for not running extra trains that don't generate any revenue when they're deep in the red.

I generally ride a Metra train about once every 4-6 weeks when Ms. Doub and I go up to Crystal Lake to see her parents after work on a Friday night we're free. One hour a month on a Metra train is enough to make me want to strangle a complete stranger. I can't even fathom how anyone deals with them 5x per week.

SephClone89
04-28-2012, 12:49 PM
http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/12176755-522/quiet-metra-service-change-throws-off-sox-fans.html

This makes no sense at all. Build a $12M station near the ballpark and then cut service to it after the games! You can just tell Metra is a Gov't run agency. They just don't have a clue.

I don't see this going well...

DumpJerry
04-28-2012, 12:55 PM
http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/12176755-522/quiet-metra-service-change-throws-off-sox-fans.html

This makes no sense at all. Build a $12M station near the ballpark and then cut service to it after the games! You can just tell Metra is a Gov't run agency. They just don't have a clue.
Come on, you know we don't discuss politics here. Anyway, your comment implies that a private company would continue the service even if it costs them $1,000,000+ in loss revenue/cash. The shareholders of such a company would jump for joy.

Wsoxmike59
04-28-2012, 12:59 PM
OK I know what you guys are saying. But did Metra base this decision on April ridership? The season is young and attendance usually picks up after the kids are out of school.

Why would they build a $12 million dollar station and then make it a hardship for Sox fans to get home. Who's going to wait an hour and a half for a train? Nobody.

It's a dumb decision.

doublem23
04-28-2012, 01:45 PM
OK I know what you guys are saying. But did Metra base this decision on April ridership? The season is young and attendance usually picks up after the kids are out of school.

Why would they build a $12 million dollar station and then make it a hardship for Sox fans to get home. Who's going to wait an hour and a half for a train? Nobody.

It's a dumb decision.

I'm sure they reviewed the ridership from last season and made this decision. The bottom line is that Metra does not provide regular rapid transit style transportation like the CTA does. Its primary function is a commuter line, if you look at all of Metra's high rider lines and stations (outside of downtown, of course), very few of them are located near "tourist" destinations, the primary function of the service is to get people downtown before 9 AM and out after 5 PM. Perhaps as the Near South Side continues to gentrify and redevelop, they'll increase frequency on the Rock Island Line.

amsteel
04-28-2012, 01:57 PM
Buinesses make business decisions.

kittle42
04-28-2012, 02:13 PM
Buinesses make business decisions.

Gotta agree.

LongLiveFisk
04-28-2012, 02:18 PM
But it's also early in the season with poorer crowd sizes. You would think if once the weather gets warmer and the Sox start playing better that the demand for the service may increase and Metra will change their minds.

Frater Perdurabo
04-28-2012, 02:20 PM
Do public transit systems exist primarily to generate revenue?

Or do they exist to move people?

DumpJerry
04-28-2012, 02:37 PM
Do public transit systems exist primarily to generate revenue?

Or do they exist to move people?
Well, since their employees don't work for free, the fuel that runs the trains isn't free, the electricity that lights the stations isn't free, and the actual choo-choo trains they use are not donated by the manufacturers, I'd have to go out on a limb and guess they need to bring in at least as much money as they spend so that they can move people. Now, I never spent a day in business school, so I could be wrong in my modeling of this......:tongue:

DSpivack
04-28-2012, 02:51 PM
Well, since their employees don't work for free, the fuel that runs the trains isn't free, the electricity that lights the stations isn't free, and the actual choo-choo trains they use are not donated by the manufacturers, I'd have to go out on a limb and guess they need to bring in at least as much money as they spend so that they can move people. Now, I never spent a day in business school, so I could be wrong in my modeling of this......:tongue:

I think there are few, if any, public transportation systems that break even. As Frater said, they exist to move people around, they're not businesses.

asindc
04-28-2012, 02:52 PM
Maybe they should hire the folks that managed TWA or Eastern Airlines.

SI1020
04-28-2012, 02:58 PM
This is going to have a bad ending. I'm just wondering. How soon after a game do they cut off service? How much of a chance do you have to make the return trip?

amsteel
04-28-2012, 03:02 PM
I think there are few, if any, public transportation systems that break even. As Frater said, they exist to move people around, they're not businesses.

True, but if they are publicly funded, and lose money to the point of needing to take money away from other publicly funded operations a reassessment of services is needed.

Also, people need to go to work. People don't need to go to Sox games.

DSpivack
04-28-2012, 03:07 PM
True, but if they are publicly funded, and lose money to the point of needing to take money away from other publicly funded operations a reassessment of services is needed.

Also, people need to go to work. People don't need to go to Sox games.

Well, fares alone do not cover the costs of having almost any public transportation system, but nearly all roads are "free" to drive on. I would argue more on that point, but I would need to take it to PI.

Frater Perdurabo
04-28-2012, 03:44 PM
Well, fares alone do not cover the costs of having almost any public transportation system, but nearly all roads are "free" to drive on. I would argue more on that point, but I would need to take it to PI.

Bingo.

TheVulture
04-28-2012, 04:48 PM
I'd have to go out on a limb and guess they need to bring in at least as much money as they spend so that they can move people. Now, I never spent a day in business school, so I could be wrong in my modeling of this......:tongue:

I doubt there is a mass transit system in the land that breaks even.

StillMissOzzie
04-28-2012, 04:55 PM
Buinesses make business decisions.

I think there are few, if any, public transportation systems that break even. As Frater said, they exist to move people around, they're not businesses.

But it's not a business, it's a heavily subsidized government/private enterprise partnership. That said, I also hate to see tax dollars wasted, but why spend the dough on the station then?

SMO
:scratch:

amsteel
04-28-2012, 05:01 PM
why spend the dough on the station then?


Yeah, that's what I don't get. It would appear Metra was basing their spending and scheduling on 2006 attendance figures.

They're not a business in the sense they're non-profit, but non-profit doesn't mean they can weather large continuous losses. They have to balance losses with effective operations.

DSpivack
04-28-2012, 05:13 PM
But it's not a business, it's a heavily subsidized government/private enterprise partnership. That said, I also hate to see tax dollars wasted, but why spend the dough on the station then?

SMO
:scratch:

Yeah, that's what I don't get. It would appear Metra was basing their spending and scheduling on 2006 attendance figures.

They're not a business in the sense they're non-profit, but non-profit doesn't mean they can weather large continuous losses. They have to balance losses with effective operations.

Yeah, SMO's question only led to more questions in my head: What were their projections of ridership for these trains, and what was the actual ridership? And if off of 2006 attendance figures as you say, obviously attendance is way down since then and future attendance is not something I would think Metra could predict (though that doesn't mean they couldn't figure that ridership would fall with fewer people at Sox games).

dickallen15
04-28-2012, 05:34 PM
I was stunned they had those trains last year in the first place. I don't understand how anyone can expect them to lose more money just so a few don't have to wait.

dickallen15
04-28-2012, 05:35 PM
I doubt there is a mass transit system in the land that breaks even.
So you think they should lose more money just so the few that use the service don't have to wait an extra hour?

TheVulture
04-28-2012, 05:42 PM
So you think they should lose more money just so the few that use the service don't have to wait an extra hour?

I don't know how you extrapolated that from my comment, but I don't have an opinion on the matter either way to be honest.

doublem23
04-28-2012, 05:44 PM
But it's not a business, it's a heavily subsidized government/private enterprise partnership. That said, I also hate to see tax dollars wasted, but why spend the dough on the station then?

SMO
:scratch:

The station wasn't built solely for the White Sox, I'm sure having the park there was part of the reason they decided to put it at 35th street, but on that line, the 35th Street station is the only one between downtown and 87th Street (almost 9 miles).

Brian26
04-28-2012, 05:46 PM
OK I know what you guys are saying. But did Metra base this decision on April ridership? The season is young and attendance usually picks up after the kids are out of school.

But it's also early in the season with poorer crowd sizes. You would think if once the weather gets warmer and the Sox start playing better that the demand for the service may increase and Metra will change their minds.

I'm not sure how many people actually read the article, but it was stated that this schedule change was posted last month. This has nothing to do with ridership numbers so far this season.

Very few games wrap up before 9:45 (I'm allowing six minutes to get down the ramps and get over to the train, which is probably liberal), but most games don't end late enough to justify waiting for the 11:21 train either.

You would think they would have done better due diligence before investing in the $12 million station in the first place. Unreal.

Brian26
04-28-2012, 05:53 PM
The station wasn't built solely for the White Sox, I'm sure having the park there was part of the reason they decided to put it at 35th street, but on that line, the 35th Street station is the only one between downtown and 87th Street (almost 9 miles).

True, but...the Green Line and Red Line are both a block away in either direction. I'm sure someone will come back with the argument that the station could serve people working near 35th Street who come in from the south suburbs who don't want to go all the way down to the LaSalle Street station and then come back on the L, but I can't imagine on a daily basis there could be that much of a demand there. 35th Street isn't exactly a business mecca, nor will it become one. Similarly, I can't imagine there's much of a reverse commute demand for people who live near Sox park and work within walking distance of Metra in the far south suburbs. Neither of those two scenarios make much sense. The only scenario that makes sense, similar to the Ravinia model up north, is the 35th Street Metra stop being used by White Sox fans from the south suburbs in the summer.

roylestillman
04-28-2012, 05:54 PM
I always thought that having the "extra" trains were a little odd, but to be honest, every time I took it home it was pretty crowded. Some help might come from altering the late train schedule a bit. Right now the southbound train either leaves 35th at either 9:51 or 11:21. Adjusting either of these schedules might make it a little more reasonable to serve Sox fans for night games.

robertks61
04-28-2012, 05:58 PM
I'm not sure how many people actually read the article, but it was stated that this schedule change was posted last month. This has nothing to do with ridership numbers so far this season.

Very few games wrap up before 9:45 (I'm allowing six minutes to get down the ramps and get over to the train, which is probably liberal), but most games don't end late enough to justify waiting for the 11:21 train either.

You would think they would have done better due diligence before investing in the $12 million station in the first place. Unreal.

I started taking the train from Joliet last year. Beats driving anymore. Much cheaper for 2 of us than driving and paying for parking. Not happy I have to board at 9:51 or wait until 11:21 if there is a good game going on. Last night was a exception with our Sox getting it handed to them. I would think a 10:30-40 train going out and removing either the 8:51 or 9:51 trains. I've taken the earlier trains back and very few people were on them. On opening day the inbound was packed with Sox fans, beer coolers, and optimism!

Brian26
04-28-2012, 05:58 PM
I always thought that having the "extra" trains were a little odd

It's the only way to make it work. Metra would need to have a stand-by train on a nightly basis during homestands ready to depart LaSalle Street after the last out. If the game is running late, I suppose they could cancel the stand-by and use the 11:21 and after-midnight train as the last calls. Ravinia does this successfully during the summer for the same kind of crowd, so it's logistically feasible.

WhiffleBall
04-28-2012, 07:23 PM
I took metra home after a game last year when both the regularly scheduled train and the special post game trains arrived within minutes of each other. They ended up making one an express to the burbs and the other an all stop. I was impressed. That said, if they are not going to run that extra post game train then they should adjust the schedule. I've taken all of these late trains at one time or another and they are always pretty empty unless there is a fest or major concert downtown. The only people usually on those late trains are students, people who had to work late, post work drinkers, and a few people with unique work schedules. Metra owns the Rock Island tracks so they can adjust the times to whatever they want. They do change the times around once a year so if there are enough complaints then they will figure something out.

I heard a conductor telling another passenger that the 1/2 price Monday post game trains were the worse for out of control passengers. The college age kids get wasted before and during the game and then get on the train and fight with each other. I saw it happen once. The metra cops arrested a couple of kids and took them off the train at 111th.

russ99
04-29-2012, 02:15 PM
If they can afford to run all those extra trains to and from Ravinia, then they can afford one train after Sox games.

DumpJerry
04-29-2012, 02:31 PM
If they can afford to run all those extra trains to and from Ravinia, then they can afford one train after Sox games.
Because the cost and additional revenue are pretty much the same? I'm guessing you know this, otherwise what is the basis for this statement?

SaltyPretzel
04-29-2012, 02:36 PM
How difficult would it be to push the 9:51 back a half hour? :scratch:

amsteel
04-29-2012, 03:41 PM
the 1/2 price Monday post game trains were the worse for out of control passengers.

1/2 price Mondays, in general, are the worst.

Frater Perdurabo
04-29-2012, 05:12 PM
How difficult would it be to push the 9:51 back a half hour? :scratch:

This makes perfect sense.

SI1020
04-29-2012, 06:45 PM
This makes perfect sense. I would have to agree with that. By waiting a little longer I imagine they would have more passengers. The station is there now so why not maximize its use while still doing your best to be cost effective?

DSpivack
04-29-2012, 08:49 PM
I would have to agree with that. By waiting a little longer I imagine they would have more passengers. The station is there now so why not maximize its use while still doing your best to be cost effective?

The problem I see with a scheduled train each evening is that game endings are so variable. Red Sox and Yankee pitchers tend to go very slow, so games could end nearly at 11, whereas the White Sox have some of the fastest workers, so games could end at 9:30. Or a game might go into extras, etc.

Frater Perdurabo
04-29-2012, 09:02 PM
The problem I see with a scheduled train each evening is that game endings are so variable. Red Sox and Yankee pitchers tend to go very slow, so games could end nearly at 11, whereas the White Sox have some of the fastest workers, so games could end at 9:30. Or a game might go into extras, etc.

Fair enough. So have the "special" train leave LaSalle Street Station five minutes after the game ends (or after the post game fireworks end) so fans know that they won't miss the train.

DSpivack
04-29-2012, 09:29 PM
Fair enough. So have the "special" train leave LaSalle Street Station five minutes after the game ends (or after the post game fireworks end) so fans know that they won't miss the train.

Was that what Metra was doing to begin with, before cancelling it?

sachin
04-29-2012, 10:27 PM
Because the cost and additional revenue are pretty much the same? I'm guessing you know this, otherwise what is the basis for this statement?

Ravinia fits 18,500 people MAX. Some shows sell out, some have 3,000 people at most attending. Yet after every show, Metra has a special run in to the city. If they can afford to do it for Ravinia, they can do it for USCF -- oh wait, it's Metra, which has pissed on the South Side/South Suburbs for DECADES. :angry:

DSpivack
04-29-2012, 10:37 PM
Ravinia fits 18,500 people MAX. Some shows sell out, some have 3,000 people at most attending. Yet after every show, Metra has a special run in to the city. If they can afford to do it for Ravinia, they can do it for USCF -- oh wait, it's Metra, which has pissed on the South Side/South Suburbs for DECADES. :angry:

Metra is also the only train line at Ravinia--it's been an option for as long as Ravinia has been around. Many people take the El to and from Sox games. I'm guessing the ridership to and from Sox games on Metra is quite a bit less than Ravinia, as it's a new option and not the only one.

roylestillman
04-30-2012, 07:34 AM
How difficult would it be to push the 9:51 back a half hour? :scratch:
It would probably make more sense to move sense to move that 11:21 up a half an hour. These days games run three hours. That's 10:10. Under the old extra system that train wouldn't have left 35th until 10:40 anyway. Having the scheduled train leave at 10:50 isn't much of a stretch.

When they fiddled with the schedule after 35th street opened they moved that train up 20 minutes (it used to leave LasSalle at 10:55 instead of the current 11:15.) Can't see why they just can't just move it back.

C-Dawg
04-30-2012, 11:10 AM
How difficult would it be to push the 9:51 back a half hour? :scratch:

That's what I think would be best also. In fact, go back to the old thread where the 35th St. station was first discussed - I predicted it would be unlikely they'd add any extra trains (people on here were adding trains like it was a game of Rail Barons).

Warriorjan
04-30-2012, 12:45 PM
I took the train back to Evanston from Ravinia with some friends last year. Train was packed. So packed that there was no way the conductors could go through and collect fares. Not their fault, there aren't enough of them. Frankly I thought it would be better if they collected a flat rate from everyone entering the platform, no matter how far you were planning to go. This summer might be different, as I remember reading last year that Metra really wanted to cut down on people riding free because fares don't get collected. But the point is, the train there is certainly utilized. As previously stated, many people take the Red Line to the ballpark.
If there seems to be a need for it, I would imagine Metra would reinstate it at some point in the future.

Irishsox1
04-30-2012, 12:56 PM
The gap between 9:51 to 11:21 makes no sense at all on game days. Is Metra going to really save that much money not running a 10:20 train just on game days?