A primer on CTA's rules for behavior

A primer on CTA's rules for behavior

Here’s a repost from four years ago on my old site. This may be my first repost, and it’s certainly pertinent to Chicago Now readers who may not have seen it at the old Tattler site. (Hat tip to ScottChicago for reminding me of the post.)

Repost from August 2007, with some updates:

A reader last week who recently moved to Chicago asked me where she
could find rules for behavior on the CTA. I couldn’t find them on the
CTA Web site, so I asked the CTA for them. Noelle Gaffney sent me a copy
of the 1998 ordinance spelling out what we can and can’t do on the CTA.

“Many of these rules are posted and
conveyed through announcements,” she said. “The rules are generally posted at the location where it
was most logical to place it.”

Some of the rules are “no-brainers” and others are interesting to know. So here goes:

Medicine only. It’s illegal to “consume any food or beverage, excluding medicines.” Keep the Tylenol handy in the slow zones.

Turn it down! It’s illegal to “use an entertainment
appliance, radio, musical instrument or other sound-emitting device,
which is clearly audible to others.” This was passed in 1998, but I
gotta believe it covers phones whose owners play music or videos without earbuds.

Those hazardous sleepers. It’s illegal to “sleep or
doze where such activity may be hazardous to such person or others or
where such activity may interfere with the operation of the CTA’s
transit system.” I’m not sure if that covers the “egregious sleepers” whom I have complained about.

Keep it in your mouth. It’s illegal to “spit saliva,
food, gum, tobacco or any other substance.” Hmmm. You could be ticketed
first for eating, and then spitting food.

La Leche League thanks you. You can’t “expose one’s
breast, buttocks, or genitals on … the CTA; provided that
breast-feeding of infants does not violate this ordinance.”

No cunnilingus or fellatio. It’s illegal to “perform
sexual intercourse or any other sex act, including but not limited to
cunnilingus or fellatio.” That was just a puerile excuse to use those
words twice in one paragraph on this blog.

Gamblers begone!  You can’t “use any shell game,
sleight-of-hand or juggling trick (?!?), or any other game to cheat,
defraud, or unlawfully obtain money.” Has anyone seen a juggling trick?

No tracts or rave notices. And don’t try to “post, stick, stamp, paint, or affix any sign, notice, circular, handbill, placard, poster, card, advertisement or other device calculated to attract the attention of the public.”

Pepper spray is OK. It’s illegal to possess or carry
any pistol, revolver, firearm, dagger, stiletto, billie club, knife,
stun gun, taser, mace, bludgeon, explosive device or other weapon.” But
this section does not apply to cops or jail and military personnel, or
pepper spray.

And here’s what happens to you violators: “A fine of
not less than $100; a period of supervision; restitution; community
service for not less than 30 and not more than 120 hours.”


a PDF of the ordinance. And view it on the CTA’s website.


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  • A guy on the brown line was loudly playing the radio on Sunday night - he had it on during the fourth quarter of the Mavs/Heat game, which of course the Mavs won. Normally I hate it when I can hear people's mp3 players or radios, but this time I was happy because I wanted to listen to the game anyway..... I'm sure others weren't as pleased though.

  • The RedEye (which apparently has withdrawn from Chicago Now) had one a couple of days ago about tourist no nos on the CTA.

    Also, I'm surprised that there is no coverage here about the new CDOT guy, who also thinks he runs the CTA. I noted the article that he wants a system on the bus shelters that would work with ordinary television screens. This is after the CTA Board voted for expensive screens from Luminator for shelters it does not control. However, I guess I'll have to leave my comments about him to the newspaper comment boards.

  • In reply to jack:

    I must have messed up the Sun-Times link on CDOT, which is http://www.suntimes.com/5941311-417/transportation-boss-wants-screens-with-commuter-info-in-bus-shelters.html

  • In reply to jack:

    I think they should raise the fines AND start enforcing the rules.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    I would pay more for a safer El ride, that's for sure!

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  • In reply to Cheryl:

    Definitely saw some cunnilingus on the Red Line at 3AM back in 2007. There were three participants!

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  • In reply to Cheryl:

    Yes. No food and drink on the CTA. And all those convenience stores and soda machines that the CTA installs at your station and collects revenue from, they're *cough cough cough* just for people LEAVING the station, don'tcha know.

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