New college students get CTA safety tips along with their U-Pass

More than  134,000 college students from 54 Chicago-area schools are enrolled for the fall semester in the CTA's U-Pass program. Perhaps about a one-fourth of them are new to Chicago or to the CTA system. That's why the CTA is disseminating electronic and printed materials for its "If You See Something, Say Something" safety campaign to more than half of those schools for incoming freshman and new students.

“See Something, Say Something” public awareness brochures include information and tips about personal security, emergency basics, prohibited activities, and whom to contact if a rider needs assistance on both buses and trains. CTA maps with rail and bus route information are included with the brochures.

Among the tips in the brochure include the admonition to "stay alert and awake":

  • Do not sleep on the bus or train, or become too engrossed in a book.
  • Keep personal audio players at a low volume at all times.
  • Be wary of noisy passengers arguing or causing a commotion. This could be staged to distract you.

There's also the oft-ignored tip to "conceal expensive electronic equipment and jewelry."

With the big jump in theft of electronic handheld devices, I think if we all could just see *anything* other than that device in our hands, we might be able to cut theft crimes dramatically.

So, as they say in class: Pay Attention!


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  • When in doubt, a simple rule has always served me well, handed down by my simple-minded, blue-collar parents: When in doubt, act like you would act in your grandmother's house. If you are tempted to do anything stupid, ask yourself whether such behavior would fly in your grandmother's house. That will get you most of the way there when it comes to civilized behavior, and help you avoid looking like one of those barbarians on the CTA who apparently think the normal rules of civilized behavior do not apply.

    And, yes, pay attention, grow those eyes in the back of your head. And, also, grow a pair so that you can call out others who are making the ride worse for the civilized riders, or, at least, contact the proper authorities (and most El operators and bus drivers, in my view, will back you up--this is based on riding the CTA for some 15 years through various neighborhoods).
    Bullies and barbarians thrive on the apathy and fear and others.

  • In reply to vise77:

    Let us know if your grandmother is going to steal your iPhone, and then push your sister down the stairs to her death. This was directed to the students, not the barbarians, who I suppose also ride the Paris Metro (except there they are called Visigoths).

    I figure that the CTA has figured out how to tax the students (since the U Pass is usually part of the mandatory student fees) and then discourage them from riding. Now, if Gump could figure out the same for other potential ridership groups, the bleeding would stop.

  • In reply to jack:

    Perhaps you missed the part about growing eyes, Jack, in your usual rush to tell other people how so much less brilliant and concerned about the CTA* they are compared with you.

    By the way, I've never been robbed on the CTA, and I have helped stop at least two robberies. What is your record, son?

    *it's a shame the city keeps passing you over for CTA leadership. I keep writing letters telling them how wrong they are, but no one listens to me.

    Another tip: Cheap cynicism is a much different creature than is constant, healthy, deep skepticism, Jack. Apparently your grandmother never taught you that.

  • In reply to vise77:

    My grandmother died when I was 12, and was in an institution before then.

    My other grandmother died in the Nazi Great Death March.

    Your apology is expected, but I know will not be coming.

  • In reply to jack:

    I believe the U-Pass now costs about $110 per semester - at least that's what my daughter pays for more than three-and-a-half months of unlimited rides on the CTA.

    I'd be happy to pay that "tax."

  • In reply to Kevin O’Neil:

    Was you daughter given any choice?

  • In reply to jack:

    Life's funny that way, Jack: Often, we pay for things for which we have no direct, immediate use.

    And I have no survey or stats to back this up--neither do you--but every student with a UPass in this town seems damn happy about the costs. Even my wife does.

    You are the type of person who would complain about the free beer in heaven, Jack. And you give us real skeptical, grumpy people a bad name. Remember, cynicism does not equal skepticism. (Another lesson from my grandmother, believe it or not.)

  • In reply to vise77:

    I don't see an apology yet. I guess I was right about you, ViseQuinn.

    Take your moralizing somewhere else.

  • In reply to jack:

    Why should Vise apologize? What happened to your second referenced grandmother was horrible and part of a really ugly and inexcusable time in history, but not likely any fault of Vise. As to disparaging your grandmothers, he didn't accuse them of anything. He merely used grandmother-manners as a reference point for your amazing lack of civility.

  • In reply to jack:

    When you are giving about a 65% discount ($110 vs. about $300), you have to negotiate a deal. The deal the schools negotiated on behalf of their students with the CTA was they would get the steep discount if all students had to pay. That's business. Life is a negotiation.

  • In reply to Kevin O’Neil:

    Well, my question was asked and not answered by either of you.

    I assume that your daughter did not negotiate directly with the school or CTA over this.

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack, no student is ever given a choice as to whether to pay a fee. It's on the bill, and you pay it.

    Kinda like you and me not being given a choice about paying various fees on our utility bills.

  • In reply to Kevin O’Neil:

    Thanks for the answer.

    Now, we'll see if someone's grandmother will let him post from her house any more.

    But "no student" means no negotiation. Your daughter may make use of the pass, but I'm sure that if it is required at a residential college, there won't be that many occasions to go off campus. I'm sure out of town students residing in the dorm is why the alert went out in the first place, which, after all, was the subject of the original post.

  • It used to be only traditional full time undergrads got U Passes, but they're giving them to other students now. Maybe they'll eventually offer them to university staff. That would be excellent.

  • As a full time grad student, I get a U-PASS at Northwestern. The fee that NU charges is $78/quarter, which I suppose is approximately equivalent to that $110/semester mentioned above?

    However, most undergrad students don't get the U-PASS at Northwestern.

  • In reply to Noah121:

    Noah, I'm surprised undergrads get a choice. And frankly surprised they don't get it. What - do they all have cars?

  • They don't get a choice. Pretty much the only undergrads who get it, from what I've heard, are those who take classes on the Chicago campus.

  • In reply to Noah121:

    Maybe that correlates with my residential college point. I doubt that very many living in the dorms are regularly commuting. Of course, they also have the Northwestern Shuttle if they have to go to the downtown campus.

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack, did you use CTA to get downtown or see the city when you were at UofC? Or were you a commuter student, using CTA (or a car) to get to and from classes?

  • Dear Mr. Stalker--

    1. I lived on campus or across the street from campus.

    2. People from the U of C used the IC to go downtown.

  • In reply to jack:

    Don't forget:

    3. Walked uphill to school both ways in blizzards and hurricanes.

  • Hey Jack and vise77 - your discourse here is bordering on personal attacks. I know we're not quite there yet, but how about if we call a truce on this subject, OK?

  • How about Anonymous at least admitting whether he is the Anonymous cited in the legal writings as posting "statements at issue [that] were offensive and obnoxious"?

    Yes, Anonymous, I still do expect an apology from someone told not to do what he wouldn't do in his grandmother's house, but used and continues to use (as of 11:10 today) this forum in this manner. And cyberstalking is a crime in Illinois.

    I hope that I am not being too personal, but it seems like personal attacks on me are part of the culture here.

    Nevertheless, that's the last I'm going to say about this, per Kevin's request.

  • Ease up, Jack. I (posting as Anonymous around 9 am on 9/1/11) merely asked you a follow-up question to your post about Northwestern students’ riding habits using reference information you had publicly provided about yourself.

    If you’re having a problem with another Anonymous, that’s a problem with him/her, not me. In regard to your inquiry about “…Are you the Anonymous cited in the legal writings as posting ‘statements at issue [that] were offensive and obnoxious’?”: Nothing I said in my few posts to you could reasonably be considered offensive, and certainly nothing that equaled or exceeded the level of obnoxiousness you display toward anyone who disagrees with you. (Any subpoena of my IP records will bear that out.) So no, you’re going to have to look elsewhere to swat that fly.

    For the record, and for Kevin, I know I should probably take the two minutes to create my own ChicagoNow identity, but for now I continue to use a username and password made available by another ChicagoNow blogger to his readers (in an attempt to stem the loss of posters to his forum when ChicagoNow moved to the current system). By default, the name on the created account is Anonymous.

    I will now respect Kevin’s request to stop posting on this subject.

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