Should CTA cops fine riders for putting feet, bags on seats?

The CTA has plenty of rules regarding rider behavior on CTA property. But as far as I can tell, there’s no explicit, fineable prohibition for putting your feet or your bags on the seat next to you.

But there is in New York City.

Last year, New York cops issued tickets to 7,373 riders for putting their feet or bags on seats, or for simply bagging out across three seats. The tickets carry a $50 fine.

New York police say focusing on these petty “crimes” help keep the subway safer. That’s the “broken windows” theory of policing. From Wikipedia:

The broken windows theory was first introduced by social scientists James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling, in an article titled “Broken Windows” and which appeared in the March 1982 edition of The Atlantic Monthly. The title comes from the following example:

Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it’s unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside. Or consider a sidewalk. Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates. Eventually, people even start leaving bags of trash from take-out restaurants there or breaking into cars.

It’s actually a good theory that has worked in many cities. But would it work on the CTA? What do you think?


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  • The cops can't even protect people in L stations from being attacked!
    They don't do anything about the peddlers on the South Side L lines or the lunatic preachers that claim they don't want money.
    So, no unless they've first been warned to take their feet off the seat, which is far worse than a seat hog anyway. Feet that might have just stepped in dog shit.
    I've only seen a couple of instances where someone refuse to take their stuff off the seat next to them & they were obviously mentally ill & apparently homeless.
    I think it's absurd that they're arresting people for walking between the cars. I was doing that when I was 12. It's a self correcting problem, if you're incapable of doing it correctly, then you fall & get killed.
    Problem solved! Yes the trains will be delayed, but you won't do it again.
    NYC is doing it because Bloomberg is off his rocker & nickle & diming people to death. The cops there even ticketed a hugely pregnant woman several years ago because she stopped halfway up the steps at a subway station to sit & catch her breath. After an uproar in the media, they killed the ticket. There are a dozen different "crimes" that he's had the cops or sanitation dept. writing people up for, just to make money.
    He appears to have gotten these ideas from England where people have been given huge fines [over £1000] just for putting their garbage cans in the wrong place.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    I've been reading Scooter comments here for as long as he's been writing them. But this one is just about the funniest ever. I literally laughed out loud when I read it:

    "I think it's absurd that they're arresting people for walking between the cars. I was doing that when I was 12. It's a self correcting problem, if you're incapable of doing it correctly, then you fall & get killed.
    Problem solved! Yes the trains will be delayed, but you won't do it again."

    Thanks for the laugh to start the day, Scooter.

  • In reply to Kevin O’Neil:

    It's called social Darwinism & it's a recognized theory, the truly incompetent die.
    See The Darwin Awards for all the people that improve society by permanently removing themselves from it due to their own stupidity.
    Such as this moron

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    In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Ya gotta love Darwinism. It's the one way that we clean out the gene pool of those that are unable to function properly in society. Too bad it's not employed more often. :P

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    And then the Darwin Awardee's family sues CTA, the Train Operator, and the Car Manufacturer for a Gazillion Dollars - and all of our CTA fares go up.

    I learned working for very large companies about Legal Departments - and them preventing Legal Exposure.

  • They can't sue the train operator, as this would have taken place without the operator having any idea that it happened.
    You can't sue the CTA, because there are warnings on the doors. You certainly can't sue the manufacturer, there's nothing defective with the car.
    You can however sue anyone that's still obsessed with the Gray Line!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    One would think one couldn't sue for coffee being "too hot" wouldn't one?

  • Oh, Please.
    There has been more lies & garbage spread about the Stella Liebeck case than almost any lawsuit.
    McDonald's had been warned by its own consultants that their coffee was served too hot.
    She originally offered to settle with McDonald's for $20,000 to cover her medical expenses [$10,000 + $10,000 lost income], but McDonald's offered her only $800 for her injuries. The judge reduced the initial jury award of $160,000 actual damages & $2.7 million punitive damages to $640,000 because of her own carelessness of driving with the coffee balanced between her thighs.
    McDonald's has had a history of defending the indefensible & also suing the unsueable. The other case is the infamous McLibel case in Britain where the sued two poor goofs that passed out flyers claiming McD's was bad for everything. It was the longest libel case in British history, cost McD's at least £10 million for lawyers & probably a couple of billion in bad publicity worldwide. The two goofs had no lawyers!
    All they got was a £20,000 award from the two goofs, which they declined to demand since they had nothing.
    The two goofs however, were awarded £10,000 from Scotland Yard for disclosing private info to McD's & then were awarded £57,000 from the British government for violating their human rights from the European Court of Human Rights.

  • Its funny because its true. The city is out of control looking for "creative" ways to generate revenue for itself. How about directing those resources to keeping people from using the cars, stations, etc as a toilet? I would be willing to stand on my feet for the rest of my life on the Red Line, if I didnt have to endure a ride in a car that smelled like a porta-potty. Why not have the CTA actually CLEAN the cars each night? Why not crack down on the people who use the train as cheap housing?

  • In reply to boofoochoochoo:

    I hate to say this, but they do (and I have actually seen) the cars being cleaned. Problem is, as soon as they are cleaned....someone does exactly that the very next time that car is in service...pisses in it! Until that is corrected, the process will repeat itself.

  • At least I was going to agree with Scooter's first paragraph. Emanuel said that the extra cops just to patrol the L for criminals won't be available until later this year.

    Then, the depicted person is flopped across 3 bus seats, which, of course, are an inch wider than the L ones. Unless there are enough cops to patrol about 1700 buses and take care of the cherry pullers, assailants of bus drivers, pullers of the battery disconnect switch, and, of course, the thieves of iProducts throughout the system, there is a problem of priorities.

    And, for about the fifth time on Chicago Now this week, WIKIPEDIA IS NOT A SOURCE. At least here it isn't as bad as the jock who cited it as a source for his asinine conclusion about law applicable in Centre County Pa.

  • In reply to jack:

    What is a "cherry puller?" I was going to do a Google search but something tells me that might not be a 100% SFW search term.

    Then I figured I could try Wikipedia since that would be safe, but I saw that WIKIPEDIA IS NOT A SOURCE so I guess that's a no-go as well.

    So what's a cherry puller?

  • In reply to Nirvana91:

    The red knob near the door that one is supposed to pull to open the door in the case of an emergency is commonly known as the "cherry."

    Buses at most other transit authorities (such as Pace) generally have a hammer to break a glass box to get to the emergency door lever. Supposedly, CTA has cherries because they couldn't get the doors open in the 1950 streetcar fire, where a PCC streetcar collided with a gasoline truck at 63rd and State (the crash is documented in such places as Lind's book on Chicago Surface Lines).

    So, I was referring to someone who pulls the cherry in other than an emergency. While we have all seen that, one very similar to one I saw in the 70s was portrayed in the Freddie Prinze movie, "The Million Dollar Rip-Off.

  • In reply to Nirvana91:

    The "cherry" is the handle you pull to open the door in an emergency.
    Except, some people pull them to get off anywhere they want.
    I've only pulled it twice.
    Once when a bus driver refused to open the door at an actual bus stop, because the bus stop sign was missing & once in the subway, when I saw the motorwoman keep all the doors open, walk back, apparently to the last car of an 8 car train, then return & close the doors & announce: "We are standing here waiting for the Chicago Police".
    Since I wasn't going to stand in a hugely overcrowded car for an unknown time, I squeezed through the crowd, pulled the cherry & went upstairs & took the bus. Several others followed me out. I never could figure out why she closed the doors. If there was a criminal of some sorts back in the train, he could also have walked out.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    I'm somewhat surprised that you have admitted to two types of offenses in one day. Next you'll be preaching Buddhism at the Noyes platform.

  • Yes. Worst I saw was a guy who pulled the cherry and bailed out of a Red Line train just microseconds before he would have hit the wall at the end of the platform as we left Clark/Division. Another winner was a guy who should have pulled the cherry on the 22 Clark bus instead of forcing the back door open, breaking something in the process and rendering the bus inoperable. Good thing for him he was a fast runner.

  • In reply to scottknitter:

    I've seen it happen twice on moving trains. Back in blinker door times on 6000 trains.
    The first was some nut who did it at Harrison & did crash into the end wall next to the Polk St. exit.
    The second were two, twenty-something nitwits that did it from the last car of a NB train at Wilson, one hit the end railing & one went over the other side of the platform & onto the tracks. Because this happened at the north end of the station, which is at a slight curve, the motorman just quickly opened & then closed the doors & went on. Unfortunately, he missed the third rail & I saw one of them helping the other back onto the platform. These were both only Honorable mentions for Darwin Awards as all lived to be idiots another day.

  • In reply to scottknitter:

    That must have been a strong guy. For instance, the bell on the back door of a NABI would go off because apparently a left turn forced the door outward, but the door wouldn't open.

    With regard to the driver not opening the door because the stop was not posted, I had, on a couple of occasions, pushed the exit signal button above the door or the door itself for the bell. In the old days, it worked, mostly when the bus was stopped at a red light and the bus stop sign was on the far side,* but no longer. But I wouldn't pull the cherry.

    *Maybe transit signal priority will cure that problem, but I bet not for at least 5 years.

  • Oh hell yeah, ticket people for doing anything that's against the CTA rules. The city needs money.

  • There's cops on the trains? The only time I see them is when they're in packs of two or three chatting at Grand/ Milwaukee, Clinton or LaSalle.

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