Be more polite: A little help please for wheelchair-bound passenger?

This marks the first post in an occasional series where I document incidences where CTA riders could be more polite.
We're southbound on the Red Line. Two guys are sitting in the flip-up seat for wheelchairs by the exit, furiously working their phones. At Granville, a passenger in a wheelchair boards and with the help of the motorman, parks in the empty spot by the door right by them.

As we approach Sheridan, the two guys get up to disembark, still texting and surfing their phones while talking to each other. And another woman also is standing right nearby, texting on her phone.

As we pull into the station, the wheelchair-bound man plaintively asks the young men: "Can you please help me flip up the seat?"

They ignore him.

He asked again: "Can you please help me lift up the seat."

They ignore him. Again. And then exited the train.

Meanwhile, the nearby young woman, still working her phone, pressed the call button and then exited the train without even glancing at the man.


The motorman inquired, "What's the matter?"

The wheelchair guy responded, and the motorman bounded out of his "office" and helped him out.

But really?

The other three people couldn't do anything to help? No. They were just too busy on their phones.

And very inconsiderate and impolite.


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  • WELCOME to the "Holiday Season" of 2013 Kevin ! !

    People are Worthless Shi........

  • Was this a 5000?
    If it was a 2600, then I blame the motorman, for not saying the train is not going to move until they do.
    If so, then you have your answer.

    On every 5000, the four seats in each car that face forward or backward are the first to be used. People just aren't going to give them up, even for a wheelchair.
    The Green Line train I was on today was a perfect example as only half the seats could be occupied as just about everyone was too fat for just one seat as all occupied 1.5 seats.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    That's essentially correct.

    The issue isn't that the 3 should have flipped up the seat three miles south of where the disabled passenger boarded. The issue is that they should have stood up at Granville.

    I'll reserve judgment on the motorman just leaving the passenger there, but my impression was that the passenger had the right to have the wheelchair secured.

  • It makes you wonder why the person narrating the story doesn't offer to help.

  • In reply to chris:

    maybe the narrator was the wheelchair-bound rider.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    The narrator is my wife and she was sitting at the other end of the car, but could hear the entire episode and see what happened. She did get up to help but the motorman got there first.

  • In reply to chris:

    It actually didn't make me wonder at all. I assumed that the narrator wasn't one of the people who was anywhere near the situation on a possible crowded train, and therefore wasn't in a position to help.

  • I didn't hear anyone mention this news from Crain's the other day. Makes the Red line rehab much more possible and/or even the extension depending on the amount we're talking about.

  • In reply to chris:

    Not really. Just more consultant money, and a competition for nonexistent construction funds, in which the 130th Extension and Ashland BRT are in competition with each other, as well as the rest of the country.

    Just on the two L projects, someone would have to come up with $2 billion. This is the usual federal shell game.

  • I suppose it would make me an ancient, hopeless meanie if I said that people's two hands are actually for doing other things than staying glued to their smartphone at all times.

  • In reply to CCWriter:

    Sexual assault is always an alternative on the L.

  • In reply to jack:

    I did not intend any double entendres! I was thinking more along the lines of grabbing handrails, pushing elevator buttons, holding onto one's bag or coffee cup, being helpful when the need arises...

  • In reply to CCWriter:

    But we have to face the reality of the "scary shit" category on the CTA Tattler.

  • In reply to jack:

    Not disputing that, but it wasn't actually the topic.

  • I understand not wanting to give up a forward facing seat on the 5000 Style Claypoole Cattle Cars. Everything else is just too damn uncomfortable.

  • In reply to Gunga Dean:

    I agree with Jack that the motorman should have made them move and secured the passenger.

  • In reply to Gunga Dean:

    The seating arrangement specification predates Claypool by about 6 years. Another fabulous decision by the Kruesi administration.

    Let's put blame where it properly belongs. The only thing that can be attributed to Claypool is saying that it couldn't be changed.

  • In reply to jack:

    To give Claypool his due, I heard somewhere that he approved a newer version of either buses or EL trains with more forward-facing seats -- essentially putting the kibosh, at least to a certain extent, on the Sitting-Sideways abomination. He did this based on rider complaints; imagine that.

  • In reply to leoklein:

    Whether Claypool or the rail engineer, that's only for the 7000s. You'll still have to suffer through about 350 more 5000s to be delivered with this arrangement.

  • In reply to jack:

    But as we both have said, they could easily replace the side seats with forward/backward ones cantilevered off the outside walls, just like the ones on all the newer buses.
    There's no reason to continue to equip them with seats that are too narrow & actually reduce the numbers that the car can carry.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    The question is about the underseat equipment. I didn't necessarily agree with you on that. But I didn't necessarily buy what Claypool was saying, either.

  • In reply to jack:

    There's definitely a beam at the outside of the cars that the end of the cantilever could be attached to.
    It's just a matter of drilling & tapping the hole for the base so the cantilevered support can be attached to the beam at one end & the seat at the other.
    The cantilevered seats on the buses work perfectly with no sagging, even when someone really heavy sits on the outside seat.
    It's just stubbornness & being unwilling to admit that not only a serious mistake was made, but that they would have to spend money by either scrapping the seats, selling them off to someplace else or modifying them to reuse them.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    It's stubbornness not to admit that you didn't read my post (at least the first sentence thereof).

    For instance, nobody has ever suggested moving the inward facing seats near the doors of the 2600s and 3200s, because there is some sort of HVAC register under the seats.

  • In reply to leoklein:

    All right, for that I will grant him the option of chocolate sprinkles on his cream pie.

  • This is not going to be very PC but I'm tired of people in wheelchairs almost demanding to have a door opened, helped seated ect....I rarely even get a thank you when I do lend a hand. Maybe more people who help & show manners if they did the same.

  • In reply to Wingate:

    Well, maybe from a passenger perspective, o.k., but the transit authority has the obligation under the Americans with Disabilities Act to accommodate them. Which gets back to the point that the operator should have told the 3 to get up when the passenger boarded, and you should get up if the operator asks you to do so. The flip seat is mandated there fore a reason.

  • In reply to jack:

    I have no problem getting up for those with disabilities. But believe it or those with disabilities can be rude also. The #36 and #151 are filled with people with attitudes.

  • In reply to Wingate:

    As a wheelchair user, myself, it depends on the situation. Do you get rude responses from wheelchair users when you attempt to help them without respecting their personal autonomy, i.e., asking whether or not they actually need the help before taking action, and following through on the instructions from the person being helped? If you don't respect someone's lack of need or desire for help, or knowledge on how they can best be helped, you will get rude responses.

    If someone helps me out with something I genuinely need help with, I will almost always let him/her know that I'm grateful for the help. (Sometimes I forget....hey, I'm human).

    But when I have people intrude on my personal space (such as blindly coming up from behind to push my chair without asking first), or otherwise force help upon me that I didn't ask for (and would not be given to an able-bodied person in the same situation), I often am rude and consider the recipient to be typically deserving. The same rules of social behavior apply to me as they do to anyone else, the chair doesn't change them.

  • In reply to Wingate:

    Also, keep in mind that there are many wheelchair users out there with horrible social skills, often due to having been ridiculously overprotected from a young age, which kept them out of the situations in which the most basic social skill building would take place. (There are actually many able-bodied folks in this same boat, too. Just go visit your nearest horribly designed suburban subdivision built in 1970 or later to find them).

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