There have been a number of occasions where I have written about a cardinal rule of train riding: Always let passengers disembark, then get on the train. When you don’t, bad stuff can happen – like this assault on a 72-year-old man (in his words).
As we arrived at my stop, Clinton Street Station, a group of people on the platform crowded in closer to the doors of the El car. I was next to the door, about to disembark, with three or four other passengers behind me. As I stepped off the train, a large man moved in front of the door. With no time and people trying to get off the train behind me, I was propelled forward between the large guy and a departing teenaged girl standing to my left. I tried to go right between them, and brushed by them both as they closed in to try to get on the train while passengers behind me were still getting off.
The large guy, having basically been touched by a disembarking passenger (me) whose path he had almost effectively blocked, went postal. He turned from his task of getting on the train before anyone else got off and, using both hands in a rapid running push, he shoved me very hard about ten or twelve feet into the iron fence at the far side of the platform. Now, I’m not small, but I am white haired and 72 and I’m pretty easy to push around, but I managed to keep my feet as I ended up running headlong into the iron bars. Others on the platform seemed appalled (though, it being rush-hour, none offered me any assistance either).
I banged my head hard just above my right eye, and hit the fence with my right arm and hand. I may have pulled a muscle in my left hip—either that, or else it’s going to rain very hard in the next day or so—at my age it’s hard to tell which. So I ended up this Saturday morning with some minor soreness in my banged-up arm and hand, and a very black eye I can hardly see through.
Now really, this is some bullshit. More from the wounded senior citizen:
I slowly made my way down from the platform, wondering—why has CTA made no apparent effort to effectively inform people that it makes no sense whatever to try to board a train while other passengers are trying to get off. What possesses departing passengers to actually block train exits in an effort to get on a train before arriving passengers can get off? Are rush-hour riders so thoughtless that trains really need separate doors for arriving and departing riders, perhaps? Or can transit police help keep order on platforms at rush-hour? It is evident, at a minimum, that a firm and effective public education campaign is badly needed.
Good point. I don’t recall any CTA education campaign about how to board a train. But then, it really is common courtesy.
I often exercise my own “education” campaign. There have been times when I might have stepped on the foot of some doofus who tried to board the train as I was exiting.
People, please – wait for riders to exit the train before you board.