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Tue Dec 31, 2013, 10:45 AM

Privatization costs Chicago ...... again.






The Chicago Transit Authority (IL) estimates that the flawed rollout of the Ventra fare open-payment system resulted in more than 930,000 free rides, mostly on buses.

CTA officials say that Cubic Transportation Systems, which is the prime contractor on the Ventra team, will reimburse the agency about $1.2 million to cover the lost fares. Most of the free rides can be traced to Ventra equipment failures between October 1 and December 19.

“This is the amount we are submitting to Cubic for reimbursement,” CTA spokesman Brian Steele said. “Cubic has reviewed our methodology, and they have indicated to us that they will reimburse us.” Asked to comment on the matter, Cubic executive vice president Matt Cole said, “All of these matters are the subject of an ongoing discussion between the CTA and Cubic.”

CTA based its estimates of free rides on a combination of factors: (1) free rides recorded by bus drivers on farebox keypads; (2) the use of turnstiles and manual counts by CTA personnel at rail stations; and (3) historical ridership averages. The methodology accounted for approved free rides, such as those provided to low-income seniors and individuals with disabilities. The calculations assumed an average bus fare of $1.30 and an average rail fare of $1.55. ......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.thetransitwire.com/2013/12/31/ventra-flaws-cost-cta-1-2-million-free-rides/



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Arrow 30 replies Author Time Post
Reply Privatization costs Chicago ...... again. (Original post)
marmar Dec 2013 OP
Laelth Dec 2013 #1
Guy Whitey Corngood Dec 2013 #2
lonestarnot Dec 2013 #3
Scuba Dec 2013 #4
LisaLynne Dec 2013 #5
Nuclear Unicorn Dec 2013 #7
Nuclear Unicorn Dec 2013 #6
marmar Dec 2013 #8
Nuclear Unicorn Dec 2013 #9
SharonAnn Dec 2013 #10
marmar Dec 2013 #11
Nuclear Unicorn Dec 2013 #12
marmar Dec 2013 #13
progressoid Dec 2013 #14
awoke_in_2003 Dec 2013 #18
FatBuddy Dec 2013 #16
JustABozoOnThisBus Dec 2013 #22
loudsue Dec 2013 #15
Nuclear Unicorn Dec 2013 #17
loudsue Dec 2013 #20
Nuclear Unicorn Dec 2013 #21
Name removed Dec 2013 #23
loudsue Dec 2013 #24
jeff47 Dec 2013 #25
Nuclear Unicorn Dec 2013 #26
jeff47 Dec 2013 #28
Nuclear Unicorn Dec 2013 #29
xchrom Dec 2013 #19
trublu992 Dec 2013 #27
maced666 Dec 2013 #30

Response to marmar (Original post)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 10:46 AM

1. k&r for the truth, however depressing it may be. n/t

-Laelth

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 10:49 AM

2. I know it happened a few times with me, when the driver would just wave to me to just get in.Because

my piece of shit card wouldn't work.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 10:49 AM

3. More thieves storming the gates and getting away with it.

 

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 11:05 AM

4. Another privatization success!

 

Now, let's kill the USPS.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #4)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 11:07 AM

5. Because the private sector does everything right! nt

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Response to LisaLynne (Reply #5)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 11:14 AM

7. They're profitable enough to generate government revenue. n/t

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Response to Scuba (Reply #4)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 11:14 AM

6. Is this a story of privatization or contracting?

Near as I can tell there's no State Department of Designing and Building Stuff.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #6)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 11:15 AM

8. The fare payment system was in-house until Ventra.

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Response to marmar (Reply #8)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 11:18 AM

9. Why was the project moved out of house?

Were the in-house resources not up to the task?

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #9)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 11:20 AM

10. Probably there was a crony corporation which wanted the contract.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #9)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 11:20 AM

11. From all indications, the in-house system worked beautifully.


Customers much preferred it. ....... But then again, they weren't contractor friends of Hizzoner.


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Response to marmar (Reply #11)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 11:22 AM

12. Then that's not the fault of "privatization," that's corruption.

That's abuse of government/public power.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #12)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 11:24 AM

13. Call it whatever you like.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #12)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 11:56 AM

14. A.K.A. Rham Emanuel

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #12)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 01:27 PM

18. Privatization is corruption. nt

 

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Response to marmar (Reply #11)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 12:26 PM

16. guys like old man daley

 

would crap chunks of people like rahm in his morning BM.

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Response to FatBuddy (Reply #16)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 02:18 PM

22. Then I don't want to see Rahm's long-form birth certificate ...


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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #9)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 12:21 PM

15. In-house resources can ALWAYS be brought up to speed. Except for those who want to

act like American workers aren't worth a shit so that they can profit from privatization. If the employees are available to private contractors, they are available to government. Government workers answer to people who are ACCOUNTABLE directly to elected officials. Contractors are once and sometimes twice, and sometimes THREE steps removed from elected officials, so if the "public" doesn't like a service....it takes WAAAYYYYY too much trouble to try to get it changed.

When it's right there in-house, problems can be taken care of more easily. PLUS it doesn't cost taxpayers even a FRACTION of what privatization costs....those CEOs, CFOs, boards of directors, Presidents, vice presidents....all making hundreds of millions in taxpayer money....that is money wasted on privatization.

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Response to loudsue (Reply #15)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 12:39 PM

17. "Government workers answer to people who are ACCOUNTABLE directly to elected officials."

Not likely. Politicians don't go around firing government workers. Politicians don't go down to the production floor to spur-on increases in productivity.

What politicians do is charge taxes and fees BEFORE they have rendered any service for services the taxpayer may not even be consuming but must pay under threat of legal action and then the politician uses that money to pay cronies in return for contributions (assuming outright bribery hasn't already occurred).

Was this project even necessary? Would the public transit system become sufficiently more cost-effective or render better service as opposed to the previous methods of collecting fares to justify the expenditures? Or is this just one more solution looking for a problem because someone needed to appear to be doing something to justify their phoney-baloney jobs.



At least the company in the article is on the hook for the lost revenues. If a government shop had screwed this up they'd just keep pouring good money after bad.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #17)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 02:05 PM

20. That was a total and complete right wing reply. Very .... what are they calling it???

New Way democrats, or some other right wing cutesy thing? You are totally off base.

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Response to loudsue (Reply #20)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 02:14 PM

21. Please feel free to point out which part was not correct and explain why it is not correct.

You can bash me all you want for an alleged RW response but the fact remains a machine politician in a historically political machine-run city contracted the work. Emmanuel will not feel any electoral backlash, per your theory. He is not beholden to open elections or market forces. He can take taxpayer money without their consent and bestow it upon his favored cohorts under the guise of providing the citizens better services even if those services are not wanted or needed.

This story affirms my assertions and refutes yours.

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Response to loudsue (Reply #20)


Response to Name removed (Reply #23)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 02:27 PM

24. Are you replying to ME, ruby?

If so, I don't get how it refers to my post.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #17)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 03:11 PM

25. Not even close.

Politicians don't go around firing government workers. Politicians don't go down to the production floor to spur-on increases in productivity.

Neither do contractors.

Contractors make more money the longer it takes to do the work and the more problems they create. As a result, government contracting is a delicate balancing act of having just enough incompetence to make it take longer, but not so much that the government officials turn to another contractor.

Yes, the public official is not going to directly go chew out the people "on the production floor". What he's going to do is chew out the boss of the boss of the people "on the production floor" when his re-election prospects are damaged by the shit the "production floor" is failing to do. And that chewing out flows downhill.

In the contractor version of events, the politician chews out the contractor (boss of the boss...). The contractor then turns to his subordinate and says "good job bringing in extra money".

What politicians do is charge taxes and fees BEFORE they have rendered any service for services the taxpayer may not even be consuming but must pay under threat of legal action and then the politician uses that money to pay cronies in return for contributions (assuming outright bribery hasn't already occurred).

Sure thing, Rand.

Was this project even necessary? Would the public transit system become sufficiently more cost-effective or render better service as opposed to the previous methods of collecting fares to justify the expenditures?

Yes, that's why the initial in-house program was started. And it apparently worked quite well. Time and again, we've seen that reducing cash-handling by line employees speeds up such systems.

But then it got "outsourced" to contractors, where screwing up just enough is the way to make the most money.

Or is this just one more solution looking for a problem because someone needed to appear to be doing something to justify their phoney-baloney jobs.

Sure thing, Rand.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #25)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 03:29 PM

26. Disregarding pointless ad homs that don't say anything except admit a lack of reply

The problem with contractors is the exact same thing that makes non-market based work inherently wasteful. Is this worth the money? Is this the best solution? What happens when the budget is blown? Is this even worth doing in the first place or are we just looking for an excuse to spend money?

Yes, that's why the initial in-house program was started. And it apparently worked quite well.


And yet, a *government* decision was made to contract the work. There was no market-based decision, it was a political decision made by politicians whose real concern was never the project's viability or the public's need. That actually proves the very point I'm making.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #26)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 03:43 PM

28. No, it points out that the position you are taking is one that has utterly failed

There's no need to provide an extensive argument explaining why I can't fly by flapping my arms. Similarly, there's no need to provide an extensive argument explaining why Randian philosophy utterly fails in the real world.

The problem with contractors is the exact same thing that makes non-market based work inherently wasteful.

Except that contractors are supposedly bringing in the magic of "the market". In theory, multiple contractors compete for the work and thus provide the best possible deal.

In reality, once a contractor is selected it takes a metric fuckload of effort to change contractors. Because the new contractor would have to essentially start over, while the current contractor can string along the government with incremental funding.

Is this worth the money? Is this the best solution? What happens when the budget is blown? Is this even worth doing in the first place or are we just looking for an excuse to spend money?

All already answered. Apparently you're too busy clinging to failed philosophy to notice.

Is a cashless system worth the money? Yes, taking away cash handling has shown massive efficiency improvements in all mass transit systems where it's been rolled out (and not screwed up by the contractor).

Is a cashless system the best solution? No, the best solution would be to just pay for mass transit via taxes instead of collecting the money on-use. But that upsets people like you when you aren't using the mass transit system.

What happens when the budget is blown? Well, that typically doesn't happen with in-house projects. The assumption that the budget is blown in all government works is because of the contractors - you bid low, fuck it up, and then get paid more to fix it. Because switching contractors will cost more than paying you to fix it.

Is this worth doing? Well, it's gonna cost less and increase the speed of the relevant mass transit systems. What, exactly, is your claimed downside other than government spending greater than $0?

And yet, a *government* decision was made to contract the work. There was no market-based decision, it was a political decision made by politicians whose real concern was never the project's viability or the public's need. That actually proves the very point I'm making.

Because all government decisions happen in an complete vacuum and are not influenced by any outside factors.

And I can fly if I flap my arms fast enough.

The decision was made using the mantra that "contractors are always cheaper than government". Because the politician will never go down to the production floor, but that happens all the time in private industry! In other words, the decision was made using the exact same reasoning you are spouting. And it utterly failed. Again.

And the result is you are trying to blame the government for it. Yet they did what you asked them to do - turn it over to private enterprise.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #28)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 05:17 PM

29. " Except that contractors are supposedly bringing in the magic of 'the market'."

No. Contractors are private entities that possess resources to accomplish tasks that the government doesn't have the resources to accomplish on its own. It makes no sense to maintain groups of government workers for every conceivable project waiting around for the next project. It isn't viable.

In reality, once a contractor is selected it takes a metric fuckload of effort to change contractors. Because the new contractor would have to essentially start over, while the current contractor can string along the government with incremental funding.


Even in strictly private business it takes the moving of mountains to change contractors. Work generally does not begin unless and until a CONTRACT is in place. Unless the parties agree to change/end the relationship a change/end only occurs after much legal wrangling. That protects both parties. The party initiating the project has its interests in seeing a successful completion while the contractor has the logistical overhead time, personnel and resources.

For example, my father is a GC. He's not going to buy materials, pay for permits and hire workers to build something for someone unless he's sure they get paid and can't be summarily dismissed because the client has second thoughts mid-work. It does happen and more often than you'd think. So, he gets a contract. That contract says what he must deliver and as long as he delivers he must be paid. Sometimes things don't go as planned (they once found bones that they initially thought were human) but a good contract spells out contingency guidelines for both parties. If he's still within the terms of his contract woe betide the party that tries to screw over him and his workers. That's just the nature of sensible business so complaining about changing contractors doesn't strike me as a legitimate gripe.

However, if an in-house government shop screws something up there is no recourse. The proponent agency isn't going to sue itself. They aren't going to fire themselves. They aren't going to give their money back to the taxpayers. And I seriously doubt they will suddenly say they no longer need to develop whatever project they had been working on so they will simply demand more money.

At least in the OP the contractor lost profit by having to pay the government for lost fares.

Is a cashless system worth the money? Yes, taking away cash handling has shown massive efficiency improvements in all mass transit systems where it's been rolled out (and not screwed up by the contractor).


And in those systems where it seems to be working to rave reviews how many were developed by private contractors?

BTW -- what happens to all those cash handlers? Here I thought corporations were the mean ones for wanting to increase profitability by cutting their labor costs.

There's no need to provide an extensive argument explaining why I can't fly by flapping my arms. Similarly, there's no need to provide an extensive argument explaining why Randian philosophy utterly fails in the real world.


In other words, you can't.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 01:41 PM

19. du rec.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 03:40 PM

27. Was so eager to move in from the suburbs now looking to get out of Illnois completely

All the crooks have sent Chicago metro mainly Chicago in decline IMO.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 05:22 PM

30. Who is running that city?!

 

I know, I know....

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