CTA bus riders: Beware of that yellow line (the one on the floor)

Here's a guest post by Tamara. Thanks Tamara!

Twice in the past week I’ve witnessed a minor scuffle on the morning #134 Stockton LaSalle Express bus over the “yellow line” (NOT the one formerly known as the Skokie Swift, mind you.) This one particular CTA driver does not allow anyone to stand in front of the yellow line painted on the floor just behind the driver’s seat. At each stop, she waits until everyone has moved behind it before moving on.

Folks, she is not kidding. She’s not moving until you’re behind it. This visibly irked the people waiting at the Roslyn and Arlington stops who saw the seemingly open space upfront, tried to board and were denied. Usually you can fit at least half a dozen people in that area. (It’s tight and occasionally things get a little too personal - I think of it as the Groping Vestibule - although sometimes you’ll turn and discover it’s just someone’s bag bumping against you.)

Has anyone else had a driver require everyone to stay behind the line? I imagine this is some kind of law – why else would that marking be there, anyway?

Airport shuttles often have a similar line plus a sign stating that it’s against federal law to stand in the front of the bus, which would therefore apply to the CTA as well. If that’s the case, the vast majority of drivers are ignoring it, perhaps to pack in as many riders as possible. The most they’ll do is ask those standing near the door to lean back so they can see the far corner of the windshield. In 6 years of taking the 134 every morning I’ve encountered exactly one driver who enforced this.

The other unusual aspect of today’s commute was the driver’s stern admonition to “everybody stay where you are and don’t move until your stop.” That one REALLY perplexed the crowd!


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    Had one drive mention it on the 95E a year or two back. People were pretty much jammed up against the windsheild. I don't see too many people going past the yellow line on packed routes such as the 6 and 14. I heard it's some kind of safety rule.

  • Buses, at least elsewhere, had signs saying that federal law prohibits moving the bus while passengers are in front of the yellow line. Personally I don't feel like looking up the regulations this morning to see if the sign says what it means.

    Nonetheless, it appears that most of CTA has no compunction against stopping at a bus stop even though people are packed solid against the front door.

    If CTA has a bus crash like Pace 6171 the other day (supposedly to avoid a car going through a stop sign, the front of the bus crashed into a building in Harvey), there are going to be a lot of lawsuits, at least by passengers hit by flying brick.

  • I have had similar incidents on the 81 and 22 buses.

    When I spent a summer in Quito, Ecuador, I found that this same rule doesn't apply. On one ride, the bus was so packed, I ended up sitting in the bus driver's lap. It was both uncomfortable and dangerous.

  • I've seen drivers on the 92 and 81 enforce it coming out of jeff park, and on the Pace 270. It's a federal rule, you'll see the line on OTR coaches too.

    The driver in one instance told passengers that the main problem with standing in front of the line is blocking his vision out the doors and the right side mirror. His concern was bicyclists and parked cars pulling out.

  • Yes of course I have. If you are standing in front of the yellow line you are blocking the driver's vision.

  • BTW, here are the federal cites:

    49 CFR 393.90 (Buses, standee line or bar)

    49 CFR 392.62 (Safe operation, buses)

  • In reply to thepreacherswife:

    Thanks. The second citation seems more in point.

    I guess it is like immigration, in that if the feds want to enforce the law they can, but, like most things, CTA thinks that the law doesn't apply to them. Yet, the guest commentator seems to raise the usual implication that following the rules is aberrant behavior.

  • The later routes on the 2 bus (say, between 4:30 and 6pm on the way back to the city) are incredibly packed, too. I usually catch the earlier bus because they have plenty of room, but on one occasion I had the misfortune of having to use the 2 bus on it's second to last route of the day. I half considered sitting on top of one of the boxes over the wheel well.

    Any chance CTA can start using bendy buses on the worst routes for the worst times of day? At the very least, they should probably increase the frequencies of these buses...

  • In reply to Holly:

    You sound like a Brit., but anyway,

    (1) there are only 208 of them, especially since CTA had to take 226 defective ones off the street in 2009, but that's a long story chronicled elsewhere in this forum. Since the service standard is to put them where the capacity is 120 riders per bus, there is no indication that the routes on which they are now wouldn't be made proportionately more worse if they were moved to the routes you think are worse. Maybe another 40 are coming in about 18 months.

    (2) there were the service cuts in 2010 for budget purposes, so there is no indication that CTA has the funds to restore frequency now. Again, you can read about that elsewhere in this forum.

  • As others have posted, it's a federal thing... When I moved here 15 years ago, I was surprised to see the lack of enforcement of this. As one who works in another federally regulated transportation industry, (airline) I understand people's frustration with the lack of consistency of enforcement of rules. I'd be rich if I earned a dollar for every time I heard, "well they let me do it on the last flight!"

  • Of course you should not block the Operators vision! She is doing her job unlike others!

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