A little courtesy please? "Don't yell on your cell"

CTA President Rich Rodriguez didn’t like what he saw — and heard — on his tours of the CTA system: People talking loudly on their cell phones. So he determined that a friendly reminder about cell phone courtesy was needed.

As a result, Rodriguez and the CTA now want to remind you to stop yelling into your cell phone and bothering other customers. It is embarking on a courtesy campaign with “Don’t Yell on Your Cell” posters and ads.

cell phone talker.jpg

Thank you, Rich Rodriguez.

The CTA will post the reminders in unoccupied ad space on trains and buses. “These posters are a reminder to customers that they are in a public
place and that a little courtesy goes a long way,” said CTA President
Richard L. Rodriguez. “Keeping your voice down while on a call or
texting instead of talking are small steps that can be taken which can
make a big difference in improving everyone’s daily commute.”

The CTA is even suggesting some standards for cell phone usage, according to the press release:

Customers with cell phones are encouraged to select the vibrate
option in lieu of a ring tone, to text instead of call whenever
possible, or to lower their voice when on a phone call.

Do you have a favorite overheard conversation? Here’s mine at my old site about a woman and her blood mole. Read other Tattler “best cellers” here.


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  • The irony is that the busses and trains are so loud, it requires yelling for the person on the other end to even hear you. I don't have a problem texting instead... but I am waiting for AT&T service to kick in for the train tunnels. That was announced months ago, and I still get no service on my iPhone.

  • In reply to foresmac:

    It will be available by the end of the year from what I understand.

  • Probably will be as effective as the "Don't be like Jack" campaign. Not that I took offense.

  • In reply to jack:

    That's exactly what I thought of too...I loved those poster! They were so awful that they were amazing.

  • In reply to jack:

    On Denver's RTD buses, there is an advert with a composite of five people [head & shoulder shots - sorry, I didn't take a picture of this] and the copy reads "They hear every word you say."
    I think Denver is trying to connect on two levels with this. One being that callers should keep their calls brief and sotto voce, and the other being the privacy implications that a potential miscreant hears something he|she can use to the caller's disadvantage.
    I add that Denver was the best transit system in the USA in 2008, according to the institute which measures this. So it might be a solid idea to copy some of its tactics in Chicago.

  • In reply to jack:

    Yes, cell-phone users are a nuisance. But far worse, in my opinion, is the CTA's very own PA system announcements. Why do they have to play them so loud?! I live four blocks from the Berwyn stop on the Red Line, and on quiet Sunday mornings I can hear the "Doors closing" announcement from my back yard. When riding the trains, I often times need to put my hands over my ears because the PA noise level is downright painful.

  • In reply to jack:

    Wow! Mr Rodriquez is'nt there anything else that you might have found annoying on your tours of the CTA? Like maybe ......everything.....like delays, no covered bus stops for blocks in some areas (nice year round!), surly mean and downright hostile employees. Nope it's those darn cell phones! I will address this, he said, It will make me look real managerial and will distract people from the real issue like mismanagement and really poor planning and (last but not least!) possible fare increases!
    Bet Mr Rodriquez does'nt take the CTA to work.

  • I applaud the effort but I don't expect this to have much impact. I see people puffing away next to No Smoking signs, and the announcements to keep your belongings off the seat next to you, to please exit to the rear and please move back so that other passengers may get on rarely have an effect on people.

  • In reply to josh:

    Yeah, it's all in vain, ignorant people are not gonna change because of a request. If anything, they won't even realize the request is aimed directly at them.

  • The CTA should not waste time on this. There is no way to get cell phone addicts to be quiet on the CTA, execept to segregate them from other passengers.

  • Me too! My friends and family are constantly asking if I'm okay because I'm speaking so quietly. I have to explain that I'm trying not to be a jerk. But I also rarely have time to make long calls to people, and the half hour on the train is the perfect time. Sorry, fellow CTA passengers!

  • A true waste of time without any sort of enforcement to go along with it. You're not allowed to eat, drink, smoke, write graffiti, fight, urinate, defecate, or have sex on the el either, yet these things happen regularly with no consequence.

  • In reply to mickcube:

    "You're not allowed to ... have sex on the el either, yet these things happen regularly with no consequence."

    Really? I must be riding the wrong trains!

  • In reply to mickcube:

    Most people that yell on their cell pbones, yell during normal conversations. As far as noise on a bus or train, i ride the Brown line during both rush hours. It is so quiet, you can hear a pin drop. Just awesome riding the Brown line.

  • What a waste of ad space. Not to mention the graphic artist who designed the ads did a terrible job.

  • It's completely illegal in the us (and, honestly, dangerous and selfish), but you could always get a cell jammer. http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2007/08/modifying_a_cheap_portabl.html?CMP=OTC-0D6B48984890

    Not that I'd know anything about the passive-aggressive joy that comes from seeing the jaw-jacking yuppie go "Hello? HELLO?" and hang up with a disgusted look on his face.

  • Probably a more significant abuse of electronics on the CTA Rapid Transit is iPod (other other devices) music. Either cranking the volume with ear buds (does nasty things to hair cells of the listener) to annoy others in adjacent seats or just listening without the buds. Not sure however what can be done to prevent the discourtesy.

  • Any time someone calls my job to ask questions from the train, I start dropping syllables then hang up mid word. Without fail I get an almost immediate call back "I don't know what happened, we must have been cut off". Ill keep right on doing it till they call me from somewhere else.

  • So true. That's the absolute worst part. Nearly all the time, these are conversations that can wait.

  • Agree with TRS - can't say how many times someone is sitting or standing ten feet from me with their buds on, and I can hear what's being blasted out of their ipod or whatever. In fact, if I know the song, sometimes I'll start lip-synching the words in front of their face hoping they will get the hint and turn down the volume - but alas, usually all I get is a blank, deer in the headlights look from the transgressor.

  • I guess that's why they are taking the seats out of the cars, or limiting the new ones to longitudinal seats that are far fewer than in any series under 3200. At least no butt perch.

  • In reply to jack:

    That is a bad idea. I want to sit not stand!!! Longitudinal seats are horrid. Instead of having to sit next to one person, you have to sit next to two. Just torture!

  • Here Here!!! Rude cell phone yakers make life so unpleasant. And sometimes it is done for attention. Those who want feel their life is a reality show and everyone around them is interested in the details. Trust me, no one is interested, we would rather have peace and quiet!

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