Call me crazy, but I decided to take the No. 201 CTA bus today from my home in Northwest Evanston to the 8 a.m. Car Free rally in downtown Evanston.

I was late.

Call me crazy, but I decided to take the No. 201 CTA bus today from my home in Northwest Evanston to the 8 a.m. Car Free rally in downtown Evanston.

I was late.

Ron Burke of the Active Transportation Alliance with Alderman Jane Grover at this morning’s rally.

The CTA website assured me that the bus would pick me up at Central Street and Lincolnwood Drive at 7:45 and arrive downtown precisely at 8. While I figeted at the bus stop, No. 201 finally came at 7:54 and dropped me off at the rally at 8:15.

Even though the bus was late, the rally apparently started right on time. Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, was just finishing her remarks to the “crowd” of about 10 (many of them reporters like myself). And Ron Burke, executive director of the Active Transportation Alliance, was imploring the folks to consider transportation alternatives to the automobile while making their way around Chicagoland.

When I told them my tale of woe, Alderman Grover whipped out her iPhone and demonstrated an app that tracks the whereabouts of CTA buses and would have let me know that my bus would be late.

Burke said he took the Metra from his home in Oak Park this morning and arrived at Davis Street right on schedule, even though his trip involved a change of trains in downtown Chicago.

I confessed that I could not complain too much because, as a senior citizen, I rode for free, thanks to a controversial move by former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to bestow this benefit upon a major voting block.

Most seniors realize that there is no such thing as a free ride, but the freedom from the necessity of having to buy tickets or fare cards has made public transportation an attractive alternative to the automobile, this senior found.

When and if the legislature eventually eliminates the free rides for all seniors, many of us wish they would simply assess an annual fee for the privilege of using the RTA Senior Ride Free Permit. At our age, avoiding transportation hassles is worth paying a reasonable price.

But that’s another story for a later time. Now I have to walk to the Civic Center for another meeting and then walk home in time for a late lunch.

Or if I had plenty of time, I could always take the bus.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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1 Comment

  1. Late for a date

    Well, a cell app that tells you you’re going to be late is cold comfort, unless the app can magically make you arrive on time! App sez: "your ride is delayed, you’re going to be late, but at least you know you’re going to be late." Pretty helpful. Reporter Charles is smart to take advantage of Ex-Guv Blow-Dry’s senior freebie. Do you have any idea how many very well to do seniors are taking advantage of this (as well they should, since it’s just like a tax break) and chuckling about it? Creating the age-related perk is a boon for many, but is probably costing millions in revenue from people who can easily afford to pay full fare, but jast happen to be over the age limit. No wonder Blago can’t even survive more than a week on a reality TV show.

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