CHICAGO — CTA President Dorval Carter, under fire for skipping a City Council hearing about complaints from transit riders, sent letters to alderman Wednesday promising he’ll show at a Nov. 10 City Council hearing.
The letters come as a growing group of fed-up commuters call for Carter’s resignation. Aldermen on opposing sides of a failed ordinance last week told Block Club Chicago they’ve been reviving the legislation, which would pressure Carter to answer questions publicly.
The CTA has been under intense scrutiny for months, with officials, residents and employees blasting the transit system for long wait times, deteriorating conditions, security issues and “ghosts”: buses and trains that show up late or not at all.
Carter was slammed by aldermen for skipping a council hearing in September about increasing complaints. He also bailed on a budget meeting for his agency in January.
The CTA did not directly answer questions about why Carter missed those meetings.
But CTA spokesperson Maddie Kilgannon confirmed Wednesday that Carter sent letters to aldermen telling them he “plans to appear” at council Nov. 10.
“He looks forward to discussing the challenges facing the public transit industry, and the myriad steps CTA is taking to address them,” Kilgannon said.
A group of riders who started tracking CTA reliability, Commuters Take Action, are organizing to get Carter to resign, member Olivia Gahan said. They’re “pleased” to hear Carter will come to council, and members plan to sign-up to speak, Gahan said.
The group has received more than 3,000 reports of late trains and buses in six months, Gahan said.
“We hope he’ll honor his commitment and that this is the beginning of the end of ghosting,” Gahan said.
Ald. Andre Vasquez (40th) has been meeting with Commuters Take Action to drum up more support around an ordinance he proposed last week that calls for Carter to answer questions publicly on a quarterly basis. Two aldermen who moved to bury the proposal in a City Council committee say they’d support a similar measure if it did not tie Carter’s attendance record to major CTA funding.
A strong majority of aldermen now support dragging Carter to council, Vasquez said previously.
Vasquez took to Twitter after letters were leaked that Carter will now come to council on his own volition.
“All it took was … multiple outcries at hearings, grassroots groups organizing on the ground, and an ordinance being pushed through the city council, as well as press coverage,” Vasquez wrote on Twitter. “Now imagine when we pass the ordinance!”
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