Q: What is The Yard Social Club?
A: We’re passionate about suburban transportation, and this site is intended to make it easier for people who aren’t familiar with Metra, Pace, or the Chicago Transit Authority to get a better understanding of the regional transit network by giving people a fun, laid-back reason to go exploring the Chicago suburbs without the need to drive. If people have positive experiences on transit, even if it’s just grabbing a few drinks on the weekend, we think they’ll be more likely to choose transit for other trips, which lowers greenhouse emissions, supports small local businesses, encourages walkable neighborhoods, and is generally just a good thing for all of us.
Q: Who runs The Yard Social Club?
A: This site is the hobby of Scott Presslak, a certified Professional Transportation Planner in the Chicago region (and a born-and-raised suburbanite).
Q: Is “The Yard” an actual place?
A: “The Yard” was the name of my backyard growing up, where I’d host bonfire nights and beer pong tournaments for many, many years. While “The Yard” has since closed, The Yard Social Club continues as we reach out and make all of the Chicago suburbs a comfortable place to explore, relax, and enjoy ourselves with good friends.
Q: How do train crawls work?
A: It’s like a more traditional pub crawl, but over a much larger geographic area utilizing a transit line to move between the various bars, spending usually 45 to 90 minutes per location. We have way, way more information about how train crawls work here.
Q: How much do train crawls cost?
A: Metra offers a weekend pass that is good for unlimited rides on all their trains all weekend long for $10. If you drive to a station, you may be required to pay for parking. (We do not recommend driving: take transit, call a cab, use Uber/Lyft, etc.) Otherwise, how much it costs is entirely up to you regarding how much you care to eat and drink over the course of the day.
Q: How often does The Yard Social Club host a train crawl?
A: Besides St. Patrick’s Day and OktoberWest, The Yard Social Club hosts our own train crawls only sporadically with no set frequency. But you don’t have to wait for us to host a crawl if you want to plan a crawl yourself. We also offer a Crawl Concierge train crawl planning service if you’d rather leave the scheduling to us.
Q: Are you affiliated with local transit providers?
A: No. I am currently employed by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), but The Yard Social Club is a labor of love and totally unrelated to my professional duties.
I did work in Metra’s Strategic Capital Planning division and in the Chicago Transit Authority’s Performance Management division, but The Yard Social Club is not sponsored, affiliated, or otherwise associated with Metra, the CTA, IDOT, or any other transportation agency or provider. The Yard Social Club is a 100%-personal side project of mine and receives no support or compensation, financial or otherwise, from any of the transportation agencies. Likewise, all information and opinions contained herein, including the Diverging Approach blog, are exclusively my own.