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Ghost Bus

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To the editors:

I'd like to add a suggestion to Dan Johnson-Weinberger's April 7 letter about improvements that the CTA ought to make. The transit agency should correct an error that has existed in its bus-schedule database at least since the beginning of this year.

The #146 bus begins at Berwyn and Broadway and travels south down Marine Drive, inner Lake Shore Drive, and Sheridan, eventually heading out onto the Outer Drive at Belmont. However, since January, callers phoning the RTA information line to check the 146's schedule have been told that the bus's northern starting point is at Grace and Lake Shore Drive. Apparently the database provided to RTA by the CTA chopped off the 146's northern leg; since the error seemed to appear in January (things were fine in December), it may have been a minor Y2K computer glitch. No big deal--except that the error hasn't been fixed in FOUR MONTHS, despite repeated complaints not only by me to the CTA customer-service department but by RTA supervisors to whose attention I have brought the matter--and who have been kind enough to provide accurate information by looking it up on the CTA's printed brochures.

Given the 146's already erratic schedule--sometimes buses only run 20 or 30 minutes apart--people are likely to want to know when they can catch the bus. Those of us who know that the bus begins at Berwyn have been able to coax accurate information out of the RTA operators, who can only work with the information CTA has provided them. But what about the poor folks who don't know where the #146 starts? They're being automatically told that the bus they want to transfer to at the Berwyn el stop doesn't go there! Of course, if CTA top dog Frank Kruesi lived at Berwyn, the computer error probably would have been fixed the moment it was noticed.

Name withheld

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