CTA Riders Seeing Red

Red light violations by CTA buses up in 2008

It's enough to make bus riders grab for the nearest hanging strap and for taxpayers as well as transit customers -- who are paying higher fares this year -- to see red.

An increase in Chicago Transit Authority buses running through red lights jumped last year and the cost of those violations goes to Chicago commuters and taxpayers.

The number of citations issued to CTA buses for running red lights at photo-enforced intersections jumped from 641  in 2007 to 1,194 last year, according to statistics the CTA provided based on a Tribune request.

The Tribune reports that the CTA is permitted to  use public funds to pay the fines under the Illinois Vehicle Code's section on "automated traffic law enforcement system," which authorizes municipalities to issue citations to the registered owners of vehicles that run red lights.

Bus drivers say they are under increased pressure to keep on schedule, but CTA officials said there is no excuse for aggressive or dangerous driving.

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