New director of DDOT announced, changes already on the way - FOX 32 News Chicago

New director of DDOT announced, changes already on the way

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(WJBK) -

Mayor Mike Duggan welcomed an old friend Thursday, introducing Dan Dirks as the new Department of Transportation Director. Duggan believes Dirks is the guy who is "finally going to get the buses to run on time." The two worked together at SMART and Dirks has an extensive background in public transportation.

"It's going to take us a little bit of time, but we'll give you a system that you can rely on, that you'll be proud of, to the point where - someday, not too far down the line - it will be a system that can rank with the best in the country," Dirks says.
   
Dirks has only been on the job two days. He already rode the bus and has the support of the drivers and the mechanics. Earlier this week bus riders at stop along Seven Mile and Evergreen roads waited more than two hours for their ride. Dirks says he had to wait for his ride, too.

"The last one I took was Woodward and it was 35, 40 minutes, which was stunning to me," he says.

"Nobody is satisfied with what we're doing, and everybody is committed to working together to improve it. There's no question we need more drivers; we need more mechanics; we need to get parts ordered on time; we've got to pay bills on time. There are lots of pieces of this system that are not working," says Mayor Duggan.
 
Dirks says years of neglect and a lack of preventative maintenance have left the fleet in rough shape, but a lack of mechanics has played a role, too. Five years ago 30 mechanics worked heavy repair - now only seven are on the job.   

VIDEO: Click on the video player above to watch the report from Fox 2's Amy Lange

By the end of February 50 buses will be outfitted with eight cameras each, all on the most dangerous routes. All together, 250 buses will eventually get cameras and DDOT will get its own transit security unit of 35 police officers.

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