As CBS Chicago recently reported, a new study released by DePaul University warns that annual spending of perhaps up to $2 billion per year on infrastructure and repairs to Chicagoland’s most widely-used public transit — namely Metra and the Chicago Transit Authority.

The findings suggest that, while ridership has steadily increased in recent years, the spending necessary to keep up with maintenance, repair, and innovation has unfortunately been lagging behind.

This presents itself as something of a multi-angled problem for these transportation providers, because it shows two important trends heading in opposite directions. As riders increase, CTA busses, Metra trains, and the like will become more crowded and cramped (as many of you regular riders have probably noticed) — this, in and of itself, has the potential to increase the likelihood of injuries.

When you view this trend in light of the other part of this study — that funding and infrastructure spending isn’t keeping up with the trend — then there’s something of a scary scenario where the possibility of injured patrons could increase even more. Beyond the obvious concern that these companies have (or should have) for the basic safety of their patrons, this presents a unique problem for companies such as Metra and the CTA, as they fall under the heading of what is known as “common carriers.”

As we’ve previously discussed, common carriers owe what is often regarded as the highest duty under the law to their riders. This, in and of itself, is enough to open them up to potential liability in even the most basic situations where a rider is injured. When you factor in the notion that the number of riders is on the increase, while the amount of money being spent on upkeep is not keeping up with this trend, then the potential for costly accidents becomes all the more likely.

This ought to be one of the keys that ultimately factors into whether Metra, CTA, and the like take these findings to heart and invest the money necessary to keep its riders safe and its facilities and equipment ahead of the game and pushing forward.

You can contact us here 24/7/365 (and we really mean that as we will answer our phone) if you have anyquestions and to learn how we may be able to help you in the unfortunate event of an accident that caused you or your family or friends injuries – in particular, you will find that we listen, take your phone calls and e-mails (and even text messages!). We would be honored to help you with your matters – large or small.

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