Tuesday, October 14, 2008

More Money!

The City of Chicago will be implementing several new implementations in order to gain more revenue in the next few weeks.

In case you’ve been living under a dead weasel recently, “revenue” has practically become non-existent these days. So, The City has decided to put the following revenue-inducing items in place.

Frankly, I’m all for them.

CTA increase:

For the past four years, one could buy these CTA “smart cards” from the Chicago Transit Authority. When you got on the train or bus, you’d just wave the CTA card across a panel, it would deduct $1.75 from your card and let you through.

When your CTA card got down below ten dollars, it would automatically add twenty dollars to it by charging your credit card. You’d never have to fiddle with cash or buy tickets from the machine. Pretty nifty.

If you didn’t have a CTA card, you had to pay $2.00 per ride rather than $1.75. Essentially, CTA card holders got a free ride on every tenth ride. It was a pretty good deal.

So, in order to raise revenue, these discounts that CTA card holders get will no longer be available. We’ll get charged the same as everybody else.

And, frankly, I’m all for it even though I use a CTA card.

It seemed that the CTA cards were somewhat “elitist,” being that one had to have a credit card in order to use a CTA card. The folks without credit cards have been shouldering 13% more of the cost compared to credit card holders for the past four years.

CTA is also raising the fare to $2.25 per ride - - a 12% increase. (A 23% increase for CTA card holders) Compare that with how much gasoline has increased recently.

Parking Fines:

Have you ever been driving around and seen a car with one of those yellow parking boots on it? Apparently, if you have more than three unpaid parking tickets, your car is subjected to being booted. Then, you have to pay something like $200 bucks to get the boot removed. Eventually, your car gets impounded if you don’t.

Well, the City is lowing this to two unpaid tickets rather than three.

If you’ve ever been blocked in by an illegally parked car, you’d be cheering on the boot putter-onners. Besides, parking illegally can be a safety hazard.
Boot ‘em, I say!

Traffic Fines:

In many of the busy intersections, there are cameras that automatically take a photo of your license plate when you run a red light. Then, a traffic fine is sent to the license plate holder.

The City will be installing a lot more of these cameras in the near future.

I know it’s kind of Big Brother-y, but again, running a red light is awfully dangerous. I’d be a lot more conscious of stopping at yellow lights if I knew I’d automatically get fined for running a red one.

Parking Taxes:

The City is going to tax the fees on parking garages. Yes, I know. We don’t like higher taxes in this country.

So, take the CTA into downtown. It’s still a heck of a deal.


Now then. If I were King of Chicago, here are a few revenue-producing ventures I would implement:

1. Enforce fines for littering on CTA trains and buses. No one wants to sit on your discarded chicken bones.

2. Theatres should figure out a way to implement a fee for anyone “saving” seats for a whole row of friends.

3. Doctors should reduce their fees - - say, $20 for every fifteen minutes they make you wait past your appointed time. (Okay, that’s revenue in MY pocket)

4. Internet providers should add a fee anytime a subscriber sends an email in all caps.

5. If a subway passenger wants to sprinkle every sentence with f-words, then they should have to pay more to ride in an R-rated car. I know that sounds prudish, but really!

. . . . I want to be King of Chicago

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