Look at your CTA seat before sitting on train or bus

Do you look at your seat before you sit down? And I mean either bus or train. It really doesn’t matter.

Seats on both can get icky and hold boorish passengers who vomit or eat chicken dinners, and leave peanut shells on them.

These photos show various seat ickiness.

The last photo is a shot I took on a new Series 5000 rail car showing how two big guys hang over the empty seat(s) next to them.


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  • Heck APTA didn't factor in the cost of dry cleaning.

    Picture 4 shows that the seats work as intended,just that past administrations deceived us by saying that there were as many seats as on an existing train. Apparently there are only 20.

    Also, this, along with the discussion on the yellow line and the one on chicagobus.org about people not getting out of the wheelchair position when someone with a ADA scooter gets on just proves that CTA cannot maintain order. There was a no eating rule, but I assume that someone ate the peanuts before leaving the shell. Even Portillos says to throw your own stuff away.

  • I think a rule-enforcement blitz would close any budget gap! People are pigs. My favorite was the woman on the 147 Outer Drive Express bus who enjoyed a juicy pear, leaning over the side of her seat so the juice would hit the floor instead of her lap.

  • Like I've said before, these sideways seats are going to end up as a massive & expensive failure.
    If they change them now, they will save millions in future costs.
    Once the 5000s are assigned to heavily used rush hour use, there will be extensive overcrowding as numerous half seats are unusable & people are forced to stand.
    And since there aren't any center aisle poles to hang on to, people are also going to fall & then sue the CTA!

  • Just last friday I witnessed a guy opening a can of those mini hotdogs, pour the water on the floor, eat 2 then leave the can on the floor. He then opened a bag of chips then threw the garbage on the floor before exiting. Didn't really have the energy to say something to this guy as he looked like the type to start trouble and I really wasn't in the mood to be arrested. Sorry.

  • Ugh. I really REALLY hate the CTA train seats, in more ways than one. Its disgusting that such a heavily used transit agency would even consider fabric seats let alone having them fully implemented system wide years ago and now by the looks of it we will have to endure them at least a few more decades. I can't recall ever riding a train in another city that has these types of seats that cannot be sanitized and washed! You cannot tell without touching the CTA seats if they are wet or not. Yuck!! Between this and the obvious incompatibility for sideways arrangement on the 5000 cars...seriously...who is the manufacturer of these moulded seats and inserts??? I would not be the least bit surprised if they are politically connected somehow to the city, state, CTA, etc. It just doesn't make any sense why the CTA has not changed the design at all for the new cars. They have gone through several seating design changes on the bus seating over the last several years. While we are at it, someone please do a bacteria test on the seats! It would probably be horrifying if the Tribune did it and published the story. I don't care if the seats are "anti-microbial", do the tests and publish the results. I'm convinced there are things on the seats that if revealed there would be a media frenzy. The Trib did a good job revealing the high pollution levels inside Metra cars and actions have been taken.

  • In reply to Matt:

    I don't know about sanitation, although Huberman's and Rodriguez's stress on "deep clean" and "green cleaners" seems out the window.

    The main thing touted for this type of fabric is that it couldn't be slashed, but photo #1 seems to give lie to that.

    Hence, I can't see why CTA persists with this 1970 style of seat with 1980s type insert, when, as you note, bus seating has been updated. Based on this, I'm surprised that they didn't go to the 1968 style of fiberglass seat, with no insert, on the 3800 series of buses of that era. At least you could hose them down.

  • In reply to Matt:

    I have ridden trains in other cities that have cloth inserts, but there are major differences between the way transit in those cities operates and the CTA. Those transit systems do not carry anywhere near as many passengers, do not operate as frequently, and are cleaned more often. Also, rules against eating and drinking are more strictly enforced and often they are set up so that people cannot ride continuously.

  • I couldnt agree more with Matt. Not only that, but they seem to retain smells. I dont remember trains smelling as bad as they do now back before they installed the fabric seats. If someone has a stinky ass, that smell is getting ground in to the fabric of these seats and then slowly evaporating away, and we all get to inhale that stink.

  • They should have been stainless steel seats instead. That way it would've be hygienically cleaner and easier for them to keep clean. Come on CTA! Do this!

  • Foul musty smells almost certainly equal festering and growing bacteria colonies. All it takes is some moisture and some bacteria to be introduced to a porous surface that is perfect to grow the stuff. The velvety fabric seat inserts are just about perfect for this. I agree the trains have a musty funk smell, especially the Red line. There is no way that they can wash down the cars, seats included with a heavy duty disinfectant and be able to get the fabric seats dry before the cars need to be put into service. At best they do a quick dry cleaning or damp cloth wipe down. It does seem that the Huberman deep-clean initiative using steam cleaning machines has been nearly completely given up on as well. There was a period of time the trains actually had a clean smell when that was in full swing.

  • Yes, I do check the seats before I park myself into the seats. I started doing this after seeing a bum relieve himself during a bus right. You want to see garbage! You should see some of the bus and train shops where they clean them out at the end of the day. There are mountains of garbage left behind from the riders.

  • Wow, what a bunch of delicate flowers. Yes the seats are filthy. If they're wet, don't sit there. And no matter if you stand or sit, when you get to where you are going, wash your hands.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    I thought that the politically correct were supposed to use hand sanitizers.

  • I almost sat in frosting the other day. Glad I checked before I sat down.

  • In reply to marthat3:

    Martha, had you sat in that, I'm sure you really would have been frosted!


  • In reply to Kevin O’Neil:

    Not to mention that dogs on Camara Loca like liking frosting, although usually off a cake (cf. Steve Dale's blog).

    Somehow my girlfriend used to attract toy (in the kennel sense) dogs. Maybe her stockings smelled like snausages.

  • In reply to Kevin O’Neil:

    You could almost say that it would have frosted my ass, Mr. Tattler

  • In the meantime there is a story that CTA decided to settle a grievance and rehire rail servicers (car cleaners). http://www.myfoxchicago.com/dpp/news/metro/cta-rehire-laid-off-employees-rail-car-servicers-union-deal-apprenticeship-extend-20111201

    Coincidence? Probably.

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