How'd that happen? Teens disable bus, beat driver, rob passengers

It’s a real head scratcher, that makes you ask: Just how did four teenagers shut down a bus and then beat the driver and passengers and rob some of them?

The CTA finally explained that an external panel door leading to a battery shut-off door was left unlocked, and the teens reached in and shut down the bus. And it turns out that “CTA policy requires bus mechanics to keep the compartment housing the battery-disconnect switch unlocked to allow easy access by firefighters in the event of an electrical fire or other emergency that would require shutting down power on a bus.” That’s according to a union official quoted in the Tribune story.

The upshot is that the CTA is changing policy on locking the shut-off door:

The CTA issued a reminder to all bus personnel to follow standard operating procedures and check buses to ensure the access panels are locked before taking a bus into service, CTA spokeswoman Catherine Hosinski said.

“Prior to us implementing the locks, we conferred with Chicago Fire Department officials,’’ she said. “It was decided that emergency-responders could break into the locked compartments with their fire axes.’’

I should think so.



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    #InB4JackandScooterCrook start another pious argument between Claypool's ineptitude and the Unions' general indifference.

    I've been on a bus that was pranked once, stupid brats thought it would be funny to break into the battery-disconnect switch to cut the power from the bus. I mean, those doors look as if even they were locked, they could be just kicked in.

    As far as the hoods go, I hope they do serious time. It's sad that stupid kids are resorting to crime to get what they want because they either were brought up horribly or because let's face it, the whole "gangsta" lifestyle has brainwashed the youth.

  • Wolf Warrior - congrats on beating those two with the first comment of the day!

  • In reply to Kevin O’Neil:

    Only because the people at had it figured out two days ago. So, as usual, the remaining half of the CTA PR force is a day late and a dollar short.

    And Wolf Warrior, I'm not going to start another argument, as the last part of your first sentence sums it up. I would only say that, again, it is surprising that Hilkevitch picked up that point. He has, for about the last 8 months, finally figured it out. Same with his reporting about how CTA management thinks that the 5000 car business isn't public business, even though "the taxpayers" are paying $1 billion for the cars. Also mentioned how school kids like to pull this "prank."

  • Congratulations, you're now the troll of the day!

  • Ask to see the SOP on keeping the door unlock! I think the Fire Dept would have no problem with breaking a fiberglass/plastic panel. Most likely it is that the panel has a sticker on it that says, battery disconnect switch....

  • In reply to WHOSETHEBOSS:

    Good point, WTB. No one will produce an SOP on keeping the doors unlocked because it doesn't exist. Those battery door locks were installed last year, with specific directions to keep the door panel looked at all times unless needed for maintenance. Anyone who says they were supposed to keep the doors unlocked is just making excuses.

  • In reply to WHOSETHEBOSS:

    The all do have lettering that says "Battery Disconnect." Very prominent on a Pace bus.

    Your point about showing the SOP is correct. Unlike Warrior implying that I was going to get in a fight between whether management or union was right, the essential point is that if management were competent, it could produce the SOP. Yet, as usual for the CTA, it is their version of "he said, she said," except it is "PR said, some mechanic said."

  • Is one of the systems shut down the cameras that have been installed in the buses to supposedly deter this kind of violence and mayhem.

  • In reply to oconnorm:

    That's a good question, or probably better "does the camera system have its own battery backup?" Also "Does the Orbital emergency radio system have its own battery backup?"

    I don't know the answer to those, but apparently the police didn't have much trouble catching these 4.

  • #1. Brilliant on behalf of CTA to put this information in the newspaper. Ok, kids if you weren't sure before, now you know for certain how to disable a bus quickly, just open the little door on the rear right side of the bus, and flip the switch. Brilliant CTA, brilliant!

    #2. Not all the buses have locks on that door.

  • In reply to goldminetim:

    Also, from what was indicated in the media and other forums, most of the kids already knew how to do this.

    In fact I found it a refreshing change from CTA PR's "none of your business" usual response. Now, if they could answer the SOP question.........

  • Tim, you can't really blame the CTA "putting the information in the newspaper." The Tribune asked, and the CTA answered.....

  • It is a easy explaination why the CTA won't issue a SOP for the lockable battery disconnect doors. It would take a manager or engineer to actually make a decision and then sign their name to it, something that never happens. Everybody is scared to death to do so, they may have to actually make a commitment and be held responsible. This never happens.

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