Riding the CTA with eletric fears

The two-week counter starts now. If I had a two-week counter for this blog I’d post it here and then some. For the last few days I have been on a vehement search to find an electric blanket. I chuckled darkly to myself as I lugged the electric blanket to the counter. The woman at the checkout must have knew that I had lost my sanity by making a life changing move to a different state because she asked me, in a very concerned tone of voice

“Honey… I think it’s going to be warm this winter. Have you been keeping up with the weather here?”

“Of course!” I boasted, “But I’ll be traveling!”

When I had finally arrived home with my huge array of blanket, I soon went into my room to do some needed research while picturing me and someone else snuggled under the blanket. I didn’t know anything about snow, and, I wondered about my travel status for the winter duration. Would I have to become a hermit and just text a bunch of people? Would I have to refrain from seeing Michigan Lake until the summer time? I know that other people would tell me that would be a wise thing to do but I have superior bravery! I’ll have no fear! No amount of snow will keep me from exploring what Chicago has to offer its citizens.

I’ve had a good look at the Chicago bus system, called the Chicago Transit Authority or CTA as everyone likes to call it. Everything they have is accessible, and then some. The best part is that it’s really convenient! All of their buses and trains talk, and their website and trip planner is really accessible and useful. They have a taxicab program as well as a wonderful Para transit program called PACE… dumb people call those van short buses. The CTA even has accessibility videos detailing how deaf, blind, and physically disabled people use the service. Try as I might though I couldn’t find many videos about the Para transit system. The CTA has an easily accessible mobile site that can be found at http://www.transitchicago.com/mobile/

Their accessibility page is at http://www.transitchicago.com/riding_cta/accessibility.aspx

They even have a CTA store where you can buy bus passes and things like that. You can buy a bus pass or what they call CTA fare cards, which are only good for however much money that you put on the cards.

I don’t know if I said this or not, but since my rent, even though it includes a lot, will leave me with a mere $90 a month I did some snooping and furious typing into Google. I found the Chicago circuit breaker program which will give me free access to all buses, trains, and Para transit operations in Chicago. When I saw the application though, I knew that someone was going to have to rush me to some sort of emergency room. I collapsed, reading the complex questions that resembled tests in high school. The link is http://www.cbrx.il.gov/ for those who are interested.

Despite all this, I’m actually quite nervous. I don’t know how it will be, and I’ve never even seen snow in the slightest. I’ve never even tasted snow. That’s going to be my one thing I’m going to do as soon as I get there. I’m going to bend down, grab a handful of snow, make sure it’s not yellow or republican, and chomp down on it like it’s a delicacy.

I’ve spent all day trying to memorize the CTA route to the college. The good thing is the buses and trains are not that far apart so it makes it even easier. The trip planner is totally accessible to someone using JAWS or NVDA so I won’t describe the website. Just go to it and have a look around. Since my college is, quite literally, 30 minutes away from me, I could take either the train or the bus. By my own deductions and with the help of Google maps I determined that it would be best if I took two buses. For some reason, trains are longer and they seem to take more time overall.

I’m excited, and I can’t wait to write about my first adventure!



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Robert W Kingett

Robert Kingett is a gay blind journalist, and author, with many publications in magazines, anthologies, and blogs. He has judged many writing contests and has won many awards for his writings and advocacy.

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