SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Governor’s bid to require Wi-Fi on trains barely survives as end of free rides program heads to his desk

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2011

* The House just finished debating an amendment to SB 3336, which would boot RTA Chairman John Gates from his job, require defibrillators on Metra trains and require Metra to set up a Wi-Fi system for its trains.

The amendment passed 57-55-2, but it clearly has a way to go before the actual bill can reach 60 votes.

* The measure was requested by Gov. Quinn, who opposed doing away with the free rides for seniors program and wanted something else out of the deal. It’s now not totally clear whether he’ll sign the free rides reform legislation

The Illinois Senate approved the measure 54-2 without debate. Sen. Donne Trotter, D-Chicago, said the change still would allow senior citizens 65 or older to travel free of charge on local transportation, such as CTA, PACE and Metra, if they are eligible for the circuit breaker program that provides property tax and pharmaceutical assistance.

“Almost 60 percent of the seniors currently riding for free will still be eligible to ride without charge under the new eligibility requirements,” Trotter said. “The remaining seniors would still be able to ride for the discounted price.”

A household of two senior citizens with an income of less than $34,000 a year still would be eligible for free rides, said House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago.

Seniors ineligible for the free rides still would be able to ride for half price, Trotter said.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


37 Comments
  1. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jan 11, 11 @ 10:34 am:

    As fast as Quinn jumps to give away something for free, I am geniunely amazed that he is not personally bankrupt. Was there even a cursory cost-benefit analysis on the WiFi gimmie?


  2. - Oneman - Tuesday, Jan 11, 11 @ 10:41 am:

    Since as a rider I am likely going to pay for it in increased ticket prices and since it will not work half the time I will take a pass.


  3. - Excessively Rabid - Tuesday, Jan 11, 11 @ 10:44 am:

    Gov. Quinn, who opposed doing away with the free rides for seniors program

    He just doesn’t have a clue what the situation is, does he? Could Brady have been any worse? At least he would have been willing to cut this kind of frill without a tradeoff.


  4. - Quinn T. Sential - Tuesday, Jan 11, 11 @ 10:51 am:

    A couple with a combined household income of $34,000 could only be riding the busses or rails to stay warm in the winter, or cool in the summer. Otherwise wherever they were headed, unless it was a public library, they would have no money to spend when they got there anyway.

    If they are giving them free rides; they should give them some additional spending money (drug testing required), otherwise, they will be making the ride to nowhere for nothing.


  5. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jan 11, 11 @ 10:53 am:

    QTS, you ever heard of people taking the train to work?


  6. - levois - Tuesday, Jan 11, 11 @ 11:07 am:

    OK, question. What’s the point of mandating Metra to set up a wi-fi system for their trains? Although I do recognize that for a long time Metra was resistant to change, especially using credit cards to purchase tickets for example. But seriously is there a point to the wi-fi thing?


  7. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jan 11, 11 @ 11:20 am:

    Wi-Fi on Metra is certainly a business-friendly move. You can work when you’re riding the rails.

    As an added benefit, it might cut down on some of the loud cell-phone yapping.


  8. - John Galt - Tuesday, Jan 11, 11 @ 11:26 am:

    Seriously: most folks seem to use their smartphone networks. If Wi-Fi were in such high demand, why can’t Metra just do a rider survey and determine if it’s needed on it’s own? What’s from stoping them from ontracting a vendor and having individuals pay for some type of monthly password subscription of they want to use it? Like how some coffee houses do?

    Why do we feel this urge to micro-manage everything and MANDATE this?


  9. - Dave Lundy - Tuesday, Jan 11, 11 @ 11:26 am:

    Wifi on trains would be great. But why the hell is the State requiring Metra to do that. Seems like an overreach for me.

    And before you compare this to cell service in CTA tunnels, there is a strong safety reason for that while there is none for this.


  10. - Emanuel Collective - Tuesday, Jan 11, 11 @ 11:31 am:

    Believe it or not, most people use public transporation to get to work, and most people who use it do so because they don’t make enough to drive. Is that very suprising?

    And yes, there is a point to the WiFi thing. Having an internet connection is crucial to buisness and becoming an everyday part of life for most of us as well.


  11. - Emanuel Collective - Tuesday, Jan 11, 11 @ 11:34 am:

    Metra is essentially a state run system, so it’s not much different from having the GA assign new rules to an agency. This isn’t requiring a private buisness to do something it doesn’t wish to do. If you agree that WiFi on trains is a good thing, why get mad at the way it goes about getting accomplished?


  12. - zatoichi - Tuesday, Jan 11, 11 @ 11:39 am:

    WiFi is a nice benefit, but how many people would use it and will it get more people on the train? My Metra rides have been 30-45 minutes if I go down to the city. I assume it is a pretty cheap add-on.


  13. - Quinn T. Sential - Tuesday, Jan 11, 11 @ 11:43 am:

    Rich,

    @ $34,000 AGI, there is very little incentive to go to work, unless there is some near term opportunity for real increased income. The net difference between potential government subsidies, services, and benefits could likely create all the disincentive necessary to avoid work at all costs.

    Except of course to report for duty long enough to slip and fall and submit a Workers compensation claim against the employer.


  14. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jan 11, 11 @ 11:46 am:

    QTI, you just insulted millions of people who go to work every day and work hard every day, for that salary or even less. I happen to know quite a few of them.


  15. - Plutocrat03 - Tuesday, Jan 11, 11 @ 11:47 am:

    Lets see now. We have a public transportation system that requires missive infusions of money to keep it afloat and the Governor and legislature want to add an expensive amenity that is not needed or requested by the ridership.

    The fact is that this service will cost a lot of money to provide and will mean an increased need for revenue from the state which is already broke.

    How can anyone expect the state to control its spending when the pols look for every opportunity to provide something for nothing to a population that is not even asking for it?

    Anyone who benefits from an active internet connection while riding already provides it for themselves. There is no need to spend a bucketful of cash on what turns out to be a duplicative effort.


  16. - Northsider - Tuesday, Jan 11, 11 @ 11:52 am:

    WiFi is almost a requisite for younger adults who have grown up with fast internet connections and who — as a group — are starting to show a distinct preference for transit over driving because one can be online on the train, but not while driving. Laugh all you want, but the systems that offer WiFi will attract these riders.

    And the reason the General Assembly is getting involved? As the whole credit card megillah proved, a legislative mandate is the one force that can drag Metra, kicking and screaming, into the 21st Century.


  17. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jan 11, 11 @ 11:54 am:

    Northsider is correct. Metra continues to have a mid 20th Century mindset. I don’t particularly care for this sort of legislation, but Metra has shown that it has little creativity.


  18. - Emanuel Collective - Tuesday, Jan 11, 11 @ 11:54 am:

    QTS, as someone who uses public transportation and makes less than $34,000, where can I get on this gravy train? And would you like to come to Chicago and go into these neighborhoods where people struggle to get by and let them know they don’t have to work at all and can triple their income doing so?


  19. - cynically anonymous - Tuesday, Jan 11, 11 @ 12:00 pm:

    Maybe it’s just the line I ride, but I don’t notice any of my fellow riders not being able to connect their numerous electronic devices to surf or watch or e-mail as it is. Why mandate something that doesn’t seem to be necesssary?


  20. - John Galt - Tuesday, Jan 11, 11 @ 12:07 pm:

    ===
    Metra continues to have a mid 20th Century mindset. I don’t particularly care for this sort of legislation, but Metra has shown that it has little creativity.
    ===

    Might it be that the RTA & Metra are too far removed from the public to be responsive? What about direct elections?

    Of course, one problem is that the RTA and by extension Metra is massively subsidized by the GA. So if you have an independent board now making campaign promises to boot, they’ll offer all kinds of free stuff, then go running to the GA for the money…


  21. - John Galt - Tuesday, Jan 11, 11 @ 12:10 pm:

    The bottom line is I haven’t seen any massive popular revolt on the Metra hollering for WiFi service. I’d classify WiFi as a “nice to have”. Even once there’s widespread & vocal demand, you’d think Metra at that point would just initiate the project itself…


  22. - Emanuel Collective - Tuesday, Jan 11, 11 @ 12:19 pm:

    Thank goodness we have a system where massive revolts aren’t needed to institute change!


  23. - frustrated GOP - Tuesday, Jan 11, 11 @ 12:20 pm:

    Metra is behind on so many things, I think wifi would be helpful. QTS, you either don’t live in Chicago or suburbs or have a clue. I’ve seen people walking the 1 mile plus from the homeless shelter to the train station to get on and go to work, people that looked like they were living in there van getting out at the station to get on the train to go to work in “The City”. as expensive as that train ride is, it’s what gets them to work and the work is downtown. what an arrogant statement to make.


  24. - Newsclown - Tuesday, Jan 11, 11 @ 12:48 pm:

    Nowhere did I read that the wifi was going to be free to use… Did we all jump to a conclusion about that? ANyhow, it is a good marketing move to promote more train usage.


  25. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jan 11, 11 @ 12:49 pm:

    It doesn’t have to be free.


  26. - AnonX - Tuesday, Jan 11, 11 @ 1:02 pm:

    “Of course, one problem is that the RTA and by extension Metra is massively subsidized by the GA.”

    John - The RTA is funded mainly by a sales tax, not the GA. Look it up.


  27. - MrJM - Tuesday, Jan 11, 11 @ 1:07 pm:

    Any Metra reform that would encourage riders to type rather than chatter on their cellphones is a Metra reform worth serious consideration.

    – MrJM


  28. - Plutocrat03 - Tuesday, Jan 11, 11 @ 1:22 pm:

    WiFi is a requisite…

    Those people who need/want it have it. No need to require or subsidize it. As far as making it a pay service, has anyone seen what happened to telephones and pay as you go WiFi on aircraft? It pretty well dies because the vendors did not make enough money.

    Once above ground, I have never had a problem getting an internet connection while riding the choo-choo. No need to drain public resources whether from the General Fund or the RTA tax for something that has less of a need than providing good service.


  29. - jerry 101 - Tuesday, Jan 11, 11 @ 1:22 pm:

    Putting WiFi on the trains would make the ride more beneficial to a lot of people - Yeah, you can get data on your phone or through a sprint card on your computer, but wifi networks are a lot faster. Faster means you can actually work on things rather than just play video games. Plus, it may have side benefits - Metra could get updates on emergencies and other information to passengers more quickly if it were to install monitors in each car. There may be some technical requirements that could involve wifi where Metra could eventually install GPS units in each train, link them up with electronic signs in the stations, and provide real time data on how much time until the next train arrives (as CTA does in a more limited fashion for its buses - you have to download the info on your cell phone though. In some places, they have signs at the stations that announce how far away the next train/bus is).

    I don’t think that WiFi’s exactly prohibitively expensive either, especially once the infrastructure’s installed. Normally, even the infrastructure wouldn’t be that expensive, but I’m sure its a bit more complicated with trains than it is for a coffeehouse.

    By the way, QTS, retirees do work and make less than $34k a year. And, even if they don’t work, they do have places to go, and public trans is often their only connection. Things like going to the doctor, to the grocery store, to the pharmacy, etc.

    A lot of people, young and old alike, get by on a lot less than $34k. And they work their butts off.


  30. - Patchman - Tuesday, Jan 11, 11 @ 2:06 pm:

    Is Quinn going after John Gates because Gates backed Brady? What a petty move for a would-be reformer! The Governor has no business appointing a regional agency head!


  31. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jan 11, 11 @ 2:11 pm:

    –Except of course to report for duty long enough to slip and fall and submit a Workers compensation claim against the employer.–

    QTS, that’s really below the fold, man. If you ride Metra at all, you’ll see plenty of old folks — cleaning ladies, dishwashers, janitors, etc — heading to work from the city to the suburbs.

    –Once above ground, I have never had a problem getting an internet connection while riding the choo-choo.–

    Pluto, if you’ve ever been underground on Metra you have a lot bigger problems than WiFi connections. Don’t sweat it though — ridership area sales tax and fares pay the freight for that service.


  32. - Marty - Tuesday, Jan 11, 11 @ 3:05 pm:

    Don’t sweat it, it’s only money.

    Other people’s money. That makes it all even easier to throw around. On the same day as a 60% income tax hike.

    They all disgust me.


  33. - PJS - Tuesday, Jan 11, 11 @ 3:07 pm:

    Patchman’s got it. This isn’t about WiFi at all, that’s a smoke screen for the removal of Gates. Why does Quinn want to appoint the next chair of the RTA? Why does he want Gates gone? that’s the real issue here.


  34. - Laughing_All_The_Way - Tuesday, Jan 11, 11 @ 3:10 pm:

    Nothing like handing out goodies while the state is financially imploding. Better yet the so called poor that are rich enough to afford laptops that can utilize wi-fi will be getting a nice tax increase that one way or another will go into the pots that pay for these goodies.
    This whole thing gets sillier by the moment


  35. - Justa Joe - Tuesday, Jan 11, 11 @ 5:23 pm:

    Wi-Fi is nice, but why can’t Metra make that business decision on its own? More than Wi-Fi, boost PARKING. Until they all ride bikes or walk to the trains, gotta have more places to park CARS.


  36. - Angry Chicagoan - Tuesday, Jan 11, 11 @ 5:46 pm:

    I’m reluctantly in favor of Quinn’s move. American railroading in general, and Metra in particular, suffers deeply from a Not-Invented-Here mentality. You see it everywhere from Metra’s customer relations to Amtrak’s weird and inefficient boarding procedures to Union Pacific’s phobia of almost anything invented after the diesel locomotive. If railroads have to be kicked around by government in order to reach the end of the 20th century, never mind entering the 21st, then so be it.

    On a related note, I personally think that at least with Chicago-area transit, it ought to be privatized or at least outsourced. Put it out to bid and have the state and cities pay private operators a certain amount, probably similar to the current subsidy, to provide a mandated level of service. I’m convinced it would improve, and you’d see a broader effort to be more customer friendly. They’d have an actual financial stake in it, you see, unlike current agency managers and hourly workers.


  37. - OneMan - Tuesday, Jan 11, 11 @ 9:06 pm:

    If they charge for wifi on Metra the cost would have to be significantly lower than what you can get a mobile hotspot device for now. Otherwise why pay metra (or it’s vendor) $25 a month for service on a train when you can spend $40 and get it everywhere


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Where the social service money goes may surprise you
* It's just a bill
* Audit: IL Lottery violated State Finance Act
* Question of the day
* Butler implies that both Rauner and AFSCME not being "truthful"
* Budget impasse apparently taking toll on higher ed enrollment
* Today's number: 50 percent
* Fantasy Sports: Game of Skill
* *** LIVE *** Session Coverage
* Poll finds huge support for gun dealer licensing
* It's all one thing
* Bourne signs on to Manar plan
* Supremes to Blagojevich: Nope
* A picture is worth a thousand words
* Today's quotable
* HDems looking at another school funding avenue
* Two speeches, two messages
* Fantasy Sports Is Internet Gaming
* More crazy talk in Springfield
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today's edition
* Rauner: "No way Hillary Clinton is getting elected"
* Standoff over stopgap
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* *** UPDATED x1 *** State GOP delegates soundly reject gay marriage platform change
* Yesterday's blog posts

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............


Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

  
* Parallels Access 3.1 Brings 3D Touch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro Support
* Best Buy holds attractive sale on refurbished Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge
* Netflix shows off its summer 2016 line-up and confirms its exclusive streaming deal with Disney begins in September
* Prototype iPhone 6 with 'Switchboard' OS Listed on eBay for $4,999
* Sony Xperia E5 name and design confirmed on social media, specs up in the air
* Multi-Angle Movie Maker GroupClip Launches on iOS
* Spotify levels the field with Apple Music-like family subscription

* Ventura pleased starters worked deep in DH
* Nobody's more impactful than combo of Sale-Quintana
* Indians 5, White Sox 1: Dingers doom Erik Johnson
* Johnson allows 3 HRs as Sox drop nightcap
* Dominant Sale eyes 10th win as White Sox face Tribe
* White Sox hang on, edge Tribe in opener
* White Sox 7, Indians 6: Sweating out a win in Game 1

...............


Main Menu
Home
Illinois
YouTube
Pundit rankings
Obama
Subscriber Content
Durbin
Burris
Blagojevich Trial
Advertising
Updated Posts
Polls

Archives
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005

Syndication

RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0
WordPress

Loading


* GUEST COLUMN: Time for governor to lead on scho.....
* City reaches new pension deal with laborers..
* Dick Durbin Responds to Speculation He’ll Run f.....
* Legislative Checklist – WUIS 91.9..
* Rauner laughs off ‘Groundhog Day’ as budget dea.....
* McSweeney: Raising Illinois taxes again will ki.....
* Morning Spin: Rauner claims some Democrats supp.....
* Our views: Don't let Madigan keep the status qu.....
* Unmployment and Education - Alton Daily News..


* Lawyers contribute to congressional campaign of judge's son
* Updating Illinois IDs won't cost require more state money
* Northern Illinois man accused of possessing pipe bombs
* State election board questions automatic voter registration
* High court rejects request to reconsider Blagojevich case
* Prosecutors: Peterson offered $10,000 for prosecutor's death
* Inmate: Drew Peterson admitted to killing missing wife
* 3 men from Illinois killed, 1 injured in Kankakee crash
* Budget stalemate erodes interest in some Illinois colleges
* Rauner: Still time to achieve 'grand compromise'

* Republicans doubtful Illinois State Fairgrounds foundation bill will pass
* GOP leaders: No tax hike with no reforms
* State election board questions automatic voter registration
* Feeding sites to still serve needy children in Springfield
* U.S. Supreme Court rejects request to reconsider Blagojevich case
* Rauner says there's still time for 'grand compromise'
* Updating photo IDs won’t require extra state spending
* Budget stalemate erodes interest in some Illinois colleges
* Illinois Republican Party takes stance on marriage
* As state searches for revenue, is gambling expansion back in mix?

* Polsky gives $35 million to expand University of Chicago entrepreneurship center
* Tribune investor seeks to revive print with 'machine vision'
* Three Chicago law firms beat average, grow revenue
* City reaches new pension deal with laborers
* Here's what CEOs think of candidates' health care ideas


* 4 injured in Southwest Side rollover crash
* Man seriously wounded in Roseland shooting
* Man robs Inland Bank branch in Lombard
* 10 wounded in Monday shootings across Chicago
* Two injured in South Shore shooting
* Woman shot, seriously wounded in Englewood
* Heyward eyes return vs. Cards; plus front office, Victorino notes
* Man shot in South Shore
* Grichuk homer in 9th sends Cubs to third straight loss
* Family asks for FBI investigation of 2013 CPD shooting


* Freddie Gray verdict: Activists frustrated, wondering about the cases against other officers
* 4 injured in rollover crash
* At least 8 wounded in shootings citywide
* Morning Spin: Rauner claims some Democrats support his ideas, won't name them
* LINDA C. BLACK HOROSCOPES for 5/24/16
* Facebook drops news outlet input in 'trending topics' review
* Wondering why his 'hello' goes badly
* Cubs want more chirping from their bats
* Greek authorities begin evacuation of Idomeni refugee camp
* On the Air


* Republicans doubtful Illinois State Fairgrounds foundation bill will pass
* Kathleen Parker: Election disaffection
* GOP leaders: No tax hike with no reforms
* State election board questions automatic voter registration
* Feeding sites to still serve needy children in Springfield
* U.S. Supreme Court rejects request to reconsider Blagojevich case
* Rauner says there's still time for 'grand compromise'
* Janet S. Stover: New OT regs could hit social service providers hard
* Updating photo IDs won’t require extra state spending
* Budget stalemate erodes interest in some Illinois colleges


* Centennial, Rantoul baseball fall in regular season
* Rantoul, M-S softball win in regional action
* Clinton, Prairie Central, Danville baseball advance
* Students give input on future high schools
* Illini basketball to host N.C. State in Challenge
* PODCAST: News Gazette Sports Page 05-23-16
* Airplane Crash Drill
* PODCAST: Little League - First Federal v Bacon & Van Buskirk 05-23-16
* Softball: Six teams vying to advance Tuesday
* Satisfaction not yet guaranteed for Chargers soccer


* Naperville apartment fire displaces residents
* Challenged schools like East Aurora find a payoff in innovation
* Glenbard West school addition on track to open this fall
* Obama pushes for better rights in Vietnam after arms deal
* The Latest: Russia calls for temporary truce near Damascus

* House lawmakers overcome hurdle on key tra...
* Rodney Davis talks funding with Bloomingto...
* The agency that fought Illiana gets a new ...
* Rep. Dold takes educational cruise down Ch...
* Lawmakers decry high turnover rate of VA h...
* CBD Oil, and politics
* Simon considering state Senate bid
* Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
* Shutdown? State may not notice
* Rep. Bob Dold

* Dick Durbin Responds to Speculation He'll ......

* Letter: Kirk's leadership encourages suppo......

* “The Driver’s Side” – News From The Motorist’s Perspective
* Disposing of a loved one’s life
* Emanuel likely to have to ‘take the stand’ in lawsuit filed by pair of Chgo cops
* Emanuel likely to have to ‘take the stand’ in lawsuit filed by pair of cops
* Roseland Theater and the future of the neighborhood
* Making work more complicated and costl
* Making work more complicated and costly
* Gridlock
* Emanuel Unveils Proposal For Tackling Laborers Pension Fund
* Study: Chicago City Council Less Of A 'Rubber Stamp' For Emanuel


* Emergency Management Officials, National Weather Service Encourage Winter Preparedness - November is Winter Weather Preparedness Month in Illinois
* Keep Your Family Safe This Winter - November through February are leading months for carbon monoxide related incidents
* Governor Takes Bill Action
* Illinois Department of Labor Director Hugo Chaviano Awards Governor’s Award for Contributions in Health and Safety to the Illinois Refining Division of Marathon Petroleum Company LP
* State Regulator Elected Treasurer of Interstate Medical Licensure Compact




Hosted by MCS -- CapitolFax.com Privacy Policy -- SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax -- Advertise Here -- Mobile Version -- Contact Rich Miller