The Nooner | Chicago news and beyond | October 25, 2011
Groupon's business model has come under increased scrutiny as they ready their first-ever stock offering.
The Nooner: Chicago news and beyond
Today's news is about spiders! And Groupon.
Groupon’s fall from grace?
Chicago-based online coupon company Groupon has seen an unexpected reversal of fortunes recently—their initial public stock offering, originally touted as a $25 billion offer, has been knocked down to an $11.4 billion deal. More than just the downgraded expectation on their IPO, Groupon’s also facing larger concerns about their overall business model as the novelty of online coupons wears off, questions about how they report their revenue are raised and a new competitor seems to pop up every day. The IPO date is set for Nov 4; the success of that offering, and subsequent Groupon stock prices, will reveal a lot about the company’s prospects.
From Chicago’s most-important news source: Spider update
If you’re not currently checking Chicago Wildlife News daily, I’ll let it slide. You read The Nooner, and that means that if there's any important animal news, you’ll eventually hear it from me. But seriously: The site has updates on dragonfly migration, skunk sightings, rabid bats and sickly geese, all in the Chicagoland area. Yesterday, they broke a story about spiders living on the outsides of Chicago high-rises. In the article, Steve Sullivan, a curator of urban ecology at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, describes how a tall building can create a column of rising air that sucks insects up and into waiting spiders’ webs, making the upper floors of skyscrapers a great place to be a spider.
New CTA cars, hooray! (mostly)
The CTA has received 26 new train cars. It eventually will get a total of 706 new cars, at a cost of $1.137 billion. The cars will replace the aging, rickety train cars you’re currently familiar with, some of which are 42 years old. The new cars should be on the rails “in the very near future,” according to a CTA spokeswoman. They’re designed to start and stop more efficiently and have a smoother ride (hooray!). The news is not all good, though—they’re NYC-style cars, where passengers face each other on long benches and/or are crammed, standing like cattle, in the middle of the car. Which means that if you manage to get one of the few bench seats, you can expect to look at a standing rider’s crotch the whole way.
Taxi fare hike seems to be on its way
It sounds like you’re going to be seeing plenty of the inside of those new CTA cars, too, because the stage is being set for an increase in Chicago taxi fares. There’s talk in City Council of a $1-per-ride surcharge, along with other industry reforms that would discourage aggressive driving and encourage more fuel-efficient vehicles. Currently, a taxi’s meter charges more if the taxi is moving and less when it’s idling, which encourages drivers to go fast, change lanes frequently and race yellow lights. If the metering can be changed, the hope is that risky driver behavior won’t be rewarded.