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Sleeping Beauty at Rockwell Station



I e-mailed you on March 24 and March 26 regarding a sleeping employee at the Brown Line Rockwell Station. Well, at around 7:20 this morning, I walked into the station and a different employee was asleep. Sleeping Beauty looked rather happy in her slumber, leaning back in her chair, eyes closed, a small grin on her face. Slamming my hand on the kiosk door didn't seem to stir her from her slumber. Maybe she was dreaming of a magical fairytale place where the trains run without delay and people get to work on time (I have that dream too, sometimes). I wish I had brought my camera; I had finally put it away thinking that the issue was resolved. I was mistaken.

Now, I know that the CTA has much more important things on its plate besides getting the union to make sure their members stay awake to do their job. You have to master the fine skill of communicating to customers when a train is stuck in a subway tunnel for hours - something that the CTA has a hard time doing. You have to fix the tracks after decades of decay and and the use of cheap materials from incompetent contractors hired many years ago (are you ever going to sue the contractors for this?) You must fix all the many typos on the scrolling marquee (I didn't know that the word "all" was spelled with 3 L's - thanks for finally fixing that). You have to deal with the difficulties in following a 7-10 minute train schedule (this morning the Brown Line Run 419 was so late - again - that it ran express from Western to Southport - again. While I was sitting at Belmont, I heard an announcement that the Red Line train was going to run express from Belmont to Howard).

You must work your employees super hard that they can't stay on schedule or stay awake! They seem so tired all of the time. Well, guess what? I am tired, too. I am tired of seeing CTA employees sleeping on the job. I am tired of sending e-mail after e-mail and not seeing anything get done. I am tired of employees having no clue as to what line or station a customer needs to reach their destination. I am tired of sending rather polite complaints and receiving a generic "we appreciate your feedback" responses. I am tired of asking questions and never getting answers. I am tired of sending e-mails and letters and making phone calls to my representatives, state senators and the governor pleading them for more of my money to go toward mass transit. I am tired of writing Letters to the Editor at the major newspapers in support of mass transit. I am tired of attending CTA meetings and getting my friends and family to sign petitions to save mass transit. I am tired of having to explain why mass transit is so important to this city. I am tired of the broken doors (they've been broken for months now) at the brand new Rockwell Station because some incompetent employee installed the doors incorrectly. I am tired of sitting on an train wondering why we have been delayed for 10 minutes. I am tired of the drone of the automated voice over and over again telling me that we are delayed, without giving reason. I am tired of waiting 20 minutes to catch a train during rush hour. I am tired of having to constantly defend the CTA to everyone I know, despite the massive management and infrastructure issues. And I am tired of the excuses.

Here's a little secret: people would likely be more tolerant of the CTA if the little things that get people irritated - the seemingly easy-to-fix things (broken doors, sleeping employees, poor
communication) rarely happened.

Next time I see a sleeping employee, I will get a picture and send it to every major newspaper and television station in the city.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.

Warmest regards,
Erika Enk


Erika received this response:

Thank you for your complaint. As with last time, we will take corrective action.

- CTA Customer Service


Erika then received this update:

From: cta help
Date: Apr 30, 2008 7:22 AM
Subject: FW: Sleeping Beauty at Rockwell Station

Dear Ms. Enk:

Just as an update, the employee you observed sleeping yesterday at the Rockwell station was suspended and given a special warning that any subsequent violation of our rules would merit even stronger punishment.

The other employee you reported last month was similarly disciplined.

Please be assured that any complaint of this nature is taken very seriously, investigated by the appropriate supervisors and that we can and do take corrective action. We share your expectation that CTA employees should be alert and diligent in the performance of their duties and any reports to the contrary are always welcome and acted upon.

- CTA Customer Service


Posted on April 30, 2008

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