CTA Tattler Gives CTA Prez a Pass on Driving to Work

Monday morning the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Chicago Transit Authority president Richard Rodriguez canceled the free-car perq that dozens of high-ranking managers--including Rodriguez--used to drive back and forth to their jobs at the nation's second-largest public transit system.

An ironic situation seemingly made all better--except that Rodriguez has now decided to lease a car from the CTA instead--at a discount rate--to make sure he still doesn't have to ride to work on his own agency's buses and 'L' trains. In order to have more time with his kids in the morning.

All together now, folks: Are you kidding me?

Monday afternoon, I posted this video response to Rodriguez's decision on my personal blog, Chicago Carless:

(Video Blog: How are you doing your job if the one thing you're paid to promote you rebuff in the morning news?)

Soon after, Kevin O'Neil the editor of the Windy City's top transit blog, CTA Tattler, left this comment in my comment thread saying it doesn't matter that the CTA's head honcho refuses to commute in rush hour by the (ahem) CTA, saying in part:

"What makes you think that he thinks he's more important than them? I think he's doing what he thinks is best for him and his family. And he should. Let's fact it. The guy no doubt works more than the 40 hours a week that the average guy does. So he doesn't always see his kids at night at home. He sees them in the morning and gets some quality time with them in the car. So why begrudge him that?"

Why? Because he was hired to be the number-one promoter of the nation's number-two transit agency in its number-three city, that's why. I'm sure thousands of other Chicago parents would love to spend more time with their kids in the morning--and avoid a CTA commute, to boot. They don't get to do that. So why should Rodriguez, this city's new, supposedly fearless transit leader?

Now I've covered some pretty stupid CTA stunts on my personal blog, Chicago Carless, in the past. Couching cold-weather homeless harassment as a public service? Covering up the semi-permanent closure of a downtown 'L' station? Forgetting to tell riders about a new station entrance? Hating on specific groups of transit riders in their own customer survey?

And who could forget (as-soon-as-we-lose-the-Olympics outgoing) Mayor Daley's open-handed slap in the face of transit riders when he abruptly yanked former CTA honcho Ron Huberman away from the agency?

But this really takes the cake. Rodriguez has been driving to work for months now--not to mention crowing about it in major media. I think that's about as ironic (or is that moronic?) as it gets.

Trust me on that adjective. I used to be a grammar teacher and it's the most apt one I can come up with that still manages to keep this post family friendly. Or at least as family friendly as Rodriguez's morning drive.


I've asked my Chicagosphere readers to weigh in with their opinion in the following post: Blog Debate: Should the CTA President Get a Pass on Driving to Work?. Please also consider leaving a comment there.

A version of this story is trending on Windy Citizen. Follow the link to vote it up.

Read CTA Tattler's official rebuttal to my video post here.

And you can follow me on Twitter at @chicagocarless for more.