Why would you ever drive downtown?

In the years that I have lived in Chicago, I have never driven down to the Mag Mile or the Loop with the expectation of finding metered parking – mostly because metered parking in these areas is like an urban myth. No one ever finds parking. But with the hefty hike that the CTA kicked off this year, I have found myself driving to places that I would normally take the train to not once, but TWICE this week.

Before all the “OMG, just get a goddamn Chicago card and stop complaining” comments start flying, let me preface by saying that I don’t usually take public transportation. It would take me an hour to get to work in the morning (with a transfer as well), instead of the 15 – 20 minutes it takes me to drive – and I work from home 3 days a week. So there – I don’t want to hear it from you.

With the doing away of 25 cents tranfers for cash-fare paying customers, the price of riding the CTA on an occasional basis has skyrocketed. There were plenty of times in the past when I would have sacrificed convenience for the cost efficiency of the CTA, but riding the train is now no longer cost efficient. Why the hell would I pay more money for something that is less convenient? I know, I know – it’s better for the environment and good for trees, blah blah blah. But I can’t help the part of me that says “Screw the CTA – they are saying fuck you to riders like you anyway because they can’t keep their wallet in their pocket.”

So, Tuesday found me in great debate about heading down to the Mag Mile to do some post-Christmas shopping. We decided that the $24 ($2 for bus + $2 for train transfer x 3 people x 2 ways) that it would cost 3 of us to take the CTA down there would be better used on gambling for a metered spot, or settling for a garage. In the end, we ended up finding a metered spot on Pearson and Rush, bringing our grand total for transportation expenses to a whopping $1.75.

3 Comments so far

  1. Dave! (unregistered) on January 5th, 2006 @ 10:42 am

    Well, $1.75 not including the gas or wear & tear on your car for the drive… :)

    Still, I drive to work rather than take PT. I’m in the same boat… 15-20min by car vs. two bus transfers and two trains or 1:30 by PT. It’s a no brainer.

    I virtually never go to the Mag Mile, but I’m in and around the loop all the time, and I never have much trouble finding a spot… although I probably just jinxed it. :)

  2. Elizabeth (unregistered) on January 5th, 2006 @ 2:18 pm

    After much though, I think there is an answer to the car vs. CTA debate – and it’s neither of them.

    I’ve resolved to buy a Segway. (Of course, I’ll have to come up with the thousands of dollars first.) But there’s no gas involved, no transfer cards, no insurance. . . and no heater.

    Sigh. There are always trade-offs.

  3. jmd (unregistered) on January 5th, 2006 @ 5:26 pm

    cta is a disappointment. i want to know why the diesel fuel chavez offered isn’t being accepted by the cta? why? why? why?

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