Be more polite: CTA cellphone etiquette - what NOT to do

Here's another in an occasional series where I document how CTA passengers could be more polite. Today's topic is cellphone etiquette, and the lack of it by my fellow riders.

In the last 18 months, the use of smartphones by passengers on the CTA has become so prevalent that now it's rare NOT to see a fellow rider holding one. And that's OK, as long as you are polite and cognizant of other passengers while using them. To help you with all that, here's a list of what NOT to do while on the phone on the CTA.

  • Don't hold prolonged personal conversations on your phone. No one else really wants to hear about the cyst you must get excised, or what a bitch your wife is.
  • Don't block the subway stairs while chatting. I've seen many riders just stop in the middle of stairs leading to the subway platform. What are you thinking?
  • Speaking of blocking, don't stand at the rear exit to the bus while yapping on the phone. In fact, don't stand there PERIOD. And if you must due to crowded conditions, step out of the way or even off the bus to let others disembark. You can board again.
  • Don't be a victim. Pay attention! I've seen some people so absorbed in their phones that they could easily have their phone snatched from their hands. In fact, that is the modus operandi of many CTA phone thieves: They wait near the "L" doors, scoping out the car for likely victims. Be especially vigilant if you're sitting in seats right near the door.

Practice these don'ts and you'll be a much more beloved fellow passengers.


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  • How about some "do's", Kevin? For example, do discuss sensitive or confidential business information loudly enough so I can hear every detail. It's a dog-eat-dog out there in the business world, and I need every tip I can get. :-)

  • In reply to SpinyNorman:

    That's more relevant than the cyst on someone's butt? Personally, I don't want to hear anything.

    I'm sure that that kind of information gets e-mailed, with a 10 line footer about how confidential it is.

  • Totally off topic
    Jack, please tell your colleagues at Chicago Bus, the reason the 96 is on Lunt, is that until 1979, Pratt was exactly 16 feet wide from Seely to Western. Far too narrow for buses to pass each other.
    Why it wasn't moved in 1979 is the real question.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    You can sign on there if you want to. I'm not going to make a factual statement based on hearsay.

  • In reply to jack:

    Well, the street was 16 feet wide because it ran along side the Edgewater Golf Club.
    When the state finally bought the club, it ceded a long strip of land to the city & the city widened it in 1979.
    There's more here, but with the mistake that the street was private, it wasn't.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    I take it that you didn't comprehend the meaning of my previous post.

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