Archive for the ‘CTA’ Category

I-GO Car Sharing launches mobile reservations site

June 8, 2009

I-GO has always been about mobile convenience. But now we’re really on the move.

Smartphone fans, take a deep breath, tilt your touch screens and flex those thumbs: I-GO now has an online reservation site configured for iPhone, BlackBerry, and other web-enabled mobile devices.

Bookmark it, baby:

Keep in mind it’s designed for phones, not your desktop monitor, though you can get a basic idea of its functions on the latter. (It just won’t look half as cool.) iPhone users can also try out a desktop demo here.

Sweet, huh? We’re calling it “I-GO on the go.”

Now it’s exceptionally easy to log in to your online account any time, anywhere. The mobile site is a distilled, highly intuitive version of our online reservation system, customized with larger search buttons and easy-to-read drop-down menus. Search for cars by date and time, location preferences, vehicle type, and amenities just as you would on your desktop computer.

Needless to say, grabbing an I-GO car in one of the 30-plus neighborhoods we serve is now literally in the palm of your hand.

The mobile site also makes the Chicago Card Plus/I-GO Card—I-GO’s joint smartcard initiative with CTA—that much more convenient. Reserve an I-GO car within seconds that’s located at or near an upcoming stop on a CTA rail line or bus route. Next stop: I-GO.

Please note: There is a $2.99 charge the first time I-GO members use the mobile site to make, extend, cancel, or release a reservation. This will help us offset the cost of building, maintaining, and adding future enhancements to to this special feature. The fee will appear on your next month’s invoice, and all further use of the mobile site is entirely free.

I-GO on the go. Now the city’s your car-sharing oyster.

Fast Company cites I-GO and CTA’s transit smart card

April 28, 2009

I-GO just got name-dropped by Fast Company magazine. The joint transit smart card we created with CTA—the Chicago Card Plus/I-GO Card—is one of the “12 Ideas to Build On” in the magazine’s May issue article on progressive green cities.

Our smart card program gets props for linking various modes of transportation—buses, trains, and automobiles—highlighting the importance of an extended, connected public transportation network.

Sharon Feigon, CEO of I-GO Car Sharing, explains, “We want to integrate the public-transit systems and car sharing any way we can, and sharing one card is a good way to demonstrate that these different ideas are linked.”

Other innovative ideas featured in the article include the Zero Landfill, Total Recycling program in Taipei, Taiwan; Tucson’s Healthy City Initiative; the Mortgage Foreclosure Protection Program in Philadelphia; and Vancouver’s Green Games initiative.

I-GO in the news

April 8, 2009

Just spotted a couple of nice little plugs for I-GO on the web: one piece in Northwestern University’s Medill Reports news wire on I-GO’s imminent new car locations in Beverly and Old Irving Park and another on the overall benefits of car sharing and our joint transit smart card with CTA in Chicago Green Lifestyle Examiner.

Show me the money, Jerry Maguire!

February 27, 2009

The federal economic stimulus package is like a fat, bloody guy who tips over in his canoe in the Amazon: It’s been swarmed over by every Tom, Dick & Harry org, biz, and state or local government with even the most remote justification for taking a nip out of the thrashing cash cow.

Thing is, of course, that creates a whole lotta bottlenecking, impatience and speculation about who’ll get a piece of the pie.

The CTA’s newest young-gun honcho and agency manager jack-of-all-trades, Richard Rodriguez—who’s facing a daunting budget deficit and service-upgrade challenges even as his boss makes a mad dash for the 2016 Olympics—must be crossing his fingers so hard for a stimulus windfall that his knuckles are turning purple. He may get help from Springfield if the freebie rides for seniors that Gov. Nim-Rod proffered during his bread-and-circus reign get yanked.

Even the mayor of Obama’s home town can’t read the tea leaves. His wish list covers about as much ground as the President’s in this video of a press conference recitation earlier this week that’s posted on Mayor Daley’s brand-new YouTube channel. (That’s right: City Hall has finally taken a cue from the Obama internet-savvy playbook, minus slick web-design bells and whistles and an overarching effort to create government transparency.)

Give us this day our Daley bread.

We wish Rodriguez well. Seriously. We look forward to working with him and the CTA on promoting the new Chicago Card Plus/I-GO Card program. And we hope there’s a piece of mutton left over from the stimulus gorging for our non-profit car-sharing agenda and the Center for Neighborhood Technology, I-GO’s parent org. We’re both part of a better green tomorrow that includes an expanded, synergistic public transportation system.

Because it’s gonna take a whole lotta green to go green, folks. But it’s the right thing to do.

CTA & I-GO make good train-ing partners

February 9, 2009

Anyone else notice this graphic lately? It’s featured prominently in a ton of print ads that have been on CTA trains and buses since early January. The tagline that accompanies it: “One card, three ways to go.” And here’s the copy: “A seamless way to travel through the city using just one card. Bus, train, and now 200 I-GO cars.”

I’ve been on the lookout for the ads, and I-GO also has its own smaller ad on the CTA. Judging from our web traffic stats, looks like folks are seeing the ads and checking us out.

So what is it exactly? It’s the brand-new Chicago Card Plus/I-GO joint smart card. A card with two micro chips that gives you access to all CTA trains and buses, Pace buses, and I-GO’s citywide fleet of car-sharing vehicles. The idea: to promote a more unified, expansive and sustainable public transportation network.

Throw your bike into the equation (many of I-GO’s cars have racks or are parked near racks, and we’d like to make that more pervasive – check out our Cars & Locations page), and, hell, you may never need to own a car. Now if we could just continue this current warming trend…

Tracking the CTA

February 4, 2009

The sweeping changes underway at the CTA are fueling water-cooler conversation for working stiffs and sustainable-transportation experts alike.

The latter category includes Maria Choca Urban, one of our colleagues at the Center for Neighborhood Technology (I-GO‘s parent org, an urban-sustainability-focused “think and do tank”), who, on Monday’s Eight Forty-Eight program on Chicago Public Radio (WBEZ), gave an insightful assessment of the CTA that comes from firsthand experience. Maria was formerly General Manager for Policy and Strategic Solutions at CTA, and now serves as Program Manager for Transportation and Community Development at CNT.

Listen to the streaming audio file here.

RedEye‘s “Going Public” columnist Kyra Kyles was the other guest commentator on the show, and both women offered a balanced, informed POV on the the agency many Chicagoans have had a love-hate relationship with for decades.

Of course, Daley’s favorite young-gun troubleshooter—ascendent, studly Everyman Ron Huberman, who’s apparently on track to head every major city agency before declaring himself a senatorial or gubernatorial candidate (not too far-fetched, right?)—was the main topic. Maria offered praise for Huberman’s efforts in his too-brief stint at CTA, including better accountability standards in the massive bureaucracy (did you know CTA has 11,000 employees?! and that’s after a recent layoff), making better use of collected data, and the CTA’s oft-beleaguered customer relations.

But she and Kyles both agreed that the new Chicago Public Schools chief (hey, he’s an ex-cop and transit guy—maybe he can get the kids to class on time and bust more troublemakers) wasn’t in charge long enough to see his initiatives truly evolve and pay off.

When a listener called in to ask why Chicago can’t have city agency bosses with experience specific to the orgs they head, Maria said that she and her fellow transit-minded think-tankers at CNT would definitely like to see a experienced transportation professional take the reins at CTA.

Is Dorval Carter, the interim prez, the right dude for the gig?

Carter’s a lawyer who moved up from Executive Vice President for Operations Support, and he’s been responsible for directing the planning and operations functions for multiple departments including Human Resources, Purchasing, Public Affairs, Government and Community Relations and Finance. Prior to joining the CTA in 2000, Carter spent 10 years at the Federal Transit Administration where he was Assistant Chief Counsel for Legislation and Regulation and managed the office responsible for preparing and directing the federal legislative and regulatory agenda for the FTA.

I just ripped that info straight from the CTA press release.

Trying to remain objective here. Because we here at I-GO have high hopes for the CTA’s ongoing transformation. We just partnered with CTA to create a brand-new joint smart card—the Chicago Card Plus/I-GO Card—that gives you access to trains, buses and I-GO’s citywide fleet of car-sharing vehicles. The idea is to make public transit more expansive and green. We’re fans of any form of sustainable transit that decreases congestion on the roads and CO2 in our skies.

Any opinions out there on how the CTA and I-GO might further perpetuate this agenda? We’d love to hear from you. Just click on the Comments link below and give us your two cents.

Pat Quinn supports I-GO Car Sharing

January 29, 2009

Above: Quinn, second from right, with I-GO CEO Sharon Feigon (far left) and DePaul University representatives during an I-GO/DePaul partnership ceremony in spring 2008.

As Rod Blagojevich’s governorship implodes, and Illinois Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn prepares to take the reins of the unwieldy contraption known as the State of Illinois government, we at I-GO Car Sharing would like to acknowledge that Pat’s an old supporter of our organization and an avid supporter of car sharing and green, sustainable public transit.

Chicagoist just reposted an archived interview they conducted with Quinn in April 2007. When asked for his opinion on transit, Quinn gives I-GO a huge plug as part of the solution for a more efficient public transit system. He’s quite the fortune teller: Just a few weeks ago, the CTA and I-GO joined forces to create a new Chicago Card Plus/I-GO smart card that can be used to ride CTA trains and buses and also access I-GO’s fleet of cars across Chicago, Evanston and Oak Park.

Here’s that part of the interview:

Chicagoist: When you talk about tax relief and budgets in the State of Illinois, those three things – education, health care and tax relief always seem to come up. On a more local level, what would you propose to solve the transit crisis in the region?

Pat Quinn: Well, I take the CTA, and have all my adult life. And I think it really is a crisis. I think the poor service, the trains not always clean as they should be, management leaving a lot to be desired, this should really be addressed. We need the so-called [Regional Transit Authority] to really truly be regional. Too many turf wars between Pace, Metra, CTA, RTA. Given the crisis we have, and the sustainability challenge we have, to have a green way of thinking, where you need to have an excellent public transit system, I think you just can’t hand out money in Springfield to agencies that have been acting in a dysfunctional manner. So I think you have to put some strings on that to get better performance. An example would be a universal pass, which you could use for all transit services, including there’s something we know about called I-GO, which is car-sharing. So you have your transit pass, if you wanted to use a car, and use it for an hour, you know you have this not-for-profit entity, and you can get an I-GO car, and use your pass to drive for an hour to shop, and then bring it back to where the space is. To me those are the creative solutions we need to have right now.