A reminder of prohibited CTA activities - and how to be a good transit neighbor

Last week, the CTA prohibited the use of electronic cigarettes on any CTA bus, train, platform/station or other property.

I took that opportunity to review other “Policies and Practices” for the CTA. “To maintain a safe and pleasant environment for everyone, the CTA has some basic rules governing behavior on our buses and trains, as well as in CTA facilities (such as train stations and at bus turnarounds, terminals and stops),” according tot he CTA website.

For instance, just you didn’t know, these are the prohibited activities:

  • Littering
  • Smoking
  • Use of electronic cigarettes
  • Gambling
  • Peddling
  • Soliciting
  • Spitting
  • Graffiti
  • Trespassing
  • Possessing a weapon (except pepper spray)
  • Using or consuming drugs or alcohol
  • Playing radios or using other devices that make sound others may hear
  • Tampering with equipment
  • Indecent exposure or sexual conduct
  • Drunken, disorderly or disruptive conduct
  • Obstructing stairs, corridors, platforms, stations or otherwise hindering access to public areas

Yep, they all seem reasonable enough to be officially prohibited.

Also listed on that page is the CTA’s policy on children in strollers. You can read the entire policy, but here’s the crux of it:

Children in open strollers are welcome on CTA, however we encourage parents to be considerate of other customers and adhere to these rules when traveling with a stroller. Keep strollers clear of aisles and doorways aboard buses and trains.

There are some strong opinions on children in strollers on the CTA that I won’t discuss personally here. But feel free to do so in comments.

The CTA also very helpfully provides some tips on “being a good neighbor on transit” that are worth reviewing.

You can help make sure everyone has a safe and pleasant trip on the CTA.

Here are some tips to help you be a good neighbor on transit:

  • Move all the way in when boarding train cars, or all the way to the rear on buses to make room for everyone.
  • Keep packages, bags or luggage on your lap or between your feet on buses and trains to avoid blocking aisles.
  • If a bus or train gets crowded, fold your stroller or cart.
  • Take everything you brought on board with you when you leave (including newspapers).
  • Use trash receptacles and recycling bins, as appropriate.
  • Keep your feet and belongings off of empty seats to allow others to sit down.
  • Be mindful of others when talking on your phone or using electronics which others may hear (including ringtones). If you’re carrying on a conversation by text message, turn your ringer down or put your phone on vibrate.
  • Allow exiting passengers out of a bus or train before attempting to board.

OK now, ‘fess up. How many of you have violated at least one of these good neighbor rules?

It’s good to be reminded of them every now and then.

Here’s to continuing to be a good neighbor.
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  • The question should be who hasn't violated one of these 23 bullet points, or whether transit police or anyone else has enforced them.

    Also, they probably don't count unless they are also posted in Spanish, Chinese, and Korean, sort of like the notice of election. Maybe they can wrap the inside and outside of the car with those bullet points, or put some beef behind Mr. CTA saying "violators will be arrested."

    And, of course, "don't use the car as a toilet" isn't listed.

  • You didn't mention the prohibition against eating -- or has that been changed? It's announced every couple of minutes on trains, but I've never seen it enforced. On the other hand, I'd rather have a rider chomping on KFC than begging from a script, sleeping in a stinky heap or howling something he/she thinks is gospel.

    I would add these tips: If you see someone getting on the bus with a walker, stroller, wheelchair, etc., Get Up and help fold up the seats to make room. And if someone on a train is breaking the rules, press that button and tell the conductor "We have an aggressive beggar in second car from the end" (or whatever). That's what the button's there for, folks!

  • In reply to travellinpat:

    There's no such person as a "conductor" on the trains. The operator is traditionally called a "motorman".

    As for folding up the seats for a stroller, no bleeping way!
    Those jerks should be paying an extra adult fare for those monsters.
    Fold up your own damn seat!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Dude. "As for folding up the seats for a stroller, no bleeping way!". You must not be a born and bred Chicagoan. If you were then you'd know that we, true, Chicagoans are helpful when seeing anyone (especially a woman) struggling to get on/off a bus or train. It takes all of 10 secs to fold a seat. What? Are too much of a big shot that you can't spare 10 sec? Also if you are such a big shot...what are doing riding the CTA??

  • In reply to 247Chicagoan:

    1. 247: Apparently you don't ride the CTA.

    2. Mommy is supposed to let a stranger manhandle her stroller? More likely, Mommy is gong to think that someone is going to kidnap Precious.

    3. Or did you mean a handicap seat, in which case that would be depriving a disabled or elderly person of it?

  • In reply to 247Chicagoan:

    1. Don't call me "Dude"
    2. I'm sick & tired of those damned things on the buses. They take up 3 or 4 seats, that are supposed to be for the handicapped or senior citizens, which I am one of now! I want them to pay a full adult fare for each stroller they don't fold up.
    3. Apparently you don't ride the CTA very much as a lot of big shots do ride it, especially downtown.

  • Does being doped up on Nyquil during the winter months count as 'consuming drugs or alcohol'? ;-)

    It's interesting to see that stops are considered CTA facilities. I assume that means bus shelters are also CTA facilities, and that smoking is banned in the shelters. If that's the case, they should put 'No Smoking' signs in the shelters, and enforce the policy. It sucks to have to stand out in the cold and/or rain because some self-centered jacka** has to have a smoke in the shelter.

  • In reply to SpinyNorman:

    1. It depends on whether you consume it at home or on the train. There does seem to be a reason why stores like Jewel-Osco changed the outdoor sign from "Food-Drugs" to "Food-Pharmacy." It also appears that some have changed "Liquor" to "Spirits." "Spirits" still contain alcohol though, as does Nyquil (and alcohol is probably the only effective ingredient in Nyquil)

    2. In some instances, bus stops are considered CTA facilities, such as a higher duty of care owed to a passenger, such as if a bus collides with an occupied bus stop. On the other hand, the shelter is owned by JCDecaux and is there because of a concession with the city, so, property-wise, CTA has nothing to do with it. I also don't know if it is an inside area for purposes of the smoking laws. As I indicated above, Brian Steele isn't going to call a city police officer every time someone lights up near a bus shelter.

  • In reply to SpinyNorman:

    That's one of my biggest Pet Peeves. It's okay if its a nice Spring and/or Summer day, and I'll gladly stand somewhere outside of the shelter, but in the middle of Winter when its 10 below zero with 20 inches of snow on the ground, I do not want to breathe in some jerk's secondhand smoke.

  • In reply to mulder42:

    I called Alderman Burke's office to see if he could sponsor an amendment to the city's smoking ordinance that would ban smoking in bus shelters and within 15 feet of the entrance of CTA stations. 'Nothing like having to walk the gauntlet entering a subway or El station with a dozen smokers puffing away.

  • Q: Now that the railcars have security cameras in each car, is there a monitor in the motorman's cab, or are the cameras monitored at a remote location? With realtime video, it should be clear that panhandlers are walking between the cars hassling riders, and the motorman should be alerted, allowing him/her to remove the panhandler at the next station.

  • In reply to SpinyNorman:

    The 5000s seem to have a monitor (not sure what all is in the operator's console), but the usual, especially for the buses, is that the images are stored on a hard drive for later perusal by the police.

    Bringing up my point again, is the train going to go anywhere if an operator has to leave the cab every time something shows up, or at a minimum, call a cop to meet the train?

  • There's just one of these rules I never saw the sense in: Take all newspapers with you. One of the audio announcements says "remember to" but it's actually not a matter of forgetting. Leaving today's sports section or RedEye on an empty seat for another person to read is not littering, it's re-use.

  • In reply to CCWriter:

    Then what is the purpose of the blue box on every platform.

    But if no one eventually puts the newspaper in one, then iBill has to sweep it out at the terminal.

    Besides that darkwing said that everyone has a smartphone.

  • I noticed the list does not mention anything about eating, drinking or radio playing.

  • People with strollers are supposed to fold them up when boarding. They never do; they always steal the wheelchair seat. What happens when a person with a disability wants to board? Are they gonna move? Have you seen the strollers parents use nowadays? They're like the space shuttle--they've got a zillion compartments. It was great when the things were small--a couple of adjustments and the damn thing closed.

    Sometimes the bus is crowded and people don't get up, so now said Space Shuttle is blocking the aisle. A couple of weeks ago, I was going home from work on the #6 bus--parents get on board (bus is already crowded!), no one gives up the wheelchair seats, so they proceed to bring the stroller all the way to the back of the bus (it was one of the accordion ones), and park it by the door! Not only that, I just happen to be sitting opposite the back door, due to me not being able to get another seat by a window, and Mom sits down next to me with the baby, while Dad stands by door with Space Shuttle not folded up, blocking one of the 2 doors.

    I guess if I was a parent, I would have no problem with strollers on board buses/trains, but I do. I HATE THEM!!!

  • In reply to mulder42:

    I have an idea. Why don't they mount a stroller rack on the front of the bus like they do for the bikes? Strap the kid in the stroller on the front of the bus, and weeeeeeeee, better than a ride on the Goliath at Six Flag.

  • In reply to SpinyNorman:

    But then some SUV* or 50 foot dump truck** crashes into the front of the bus, and CTA has a wrongful death lawsuit. Baby had a potential earning capacity of $4 million.

    *It is never the driver, but an SUV.
    **Like the one that took out 4323.

  • fb_avatar

    Riding the CTA has become more and more frustrating.

    Not is the CTA making very little effort to improve accessibility at CTA stations, but there are a lot of bus stops with no benches, and they have also been having many of the bus shelters (and benches) removed. It's not that big of a deal when the buses run every 10 to 15 minutes. Well, if they are SUPPOSED to run every 10 to 15 minutes. But when the next bus is in 24 minutes (which means it arrives in 38 minutes), it can really cause problems for people.

    As a person that has to walk with a cane, I get really tired of people with kids running for the elevator at the train stations leaving behind the people for whom the elevators were actually put there for to wait for the crawling elevator to come back down and miss the train. Thanks!

    Or when there is no elevator and you're forced to use the escalator. Able-bodied people who are in a hurry get really pissy because you won't "move out of the way, I'm going to miss the train!" If you're in such a hurry, take the stairs! The escalator was made as a concession for me, not because you're in a hurry.

    Or when you board a bus or train and all of the high school and college kids are sitting in the Priority Seating and completely ignore the fact that you are standing there needing a seat. They are too busy talking to their friends or listening to their phones, or even just texting. And God forbid you actually ASK someone to give up their seat!!

    Cubs game days are the worst! The buses and trains are so crowded that sometimes you're lucky to be able to even get on the bus. And forget about people actually giving up a seat and letting you get to the seat.

    "Cadillac" strollers are ridiculous. If you need that much crap to go out with your kids, then either: drive, rent a zip car, take a cab, or go when it's not rush hour. And PLEASE do not get on the bus at any hour of the day with your other friends and their "Cadillac" strollers. It's bad enough that your stroller is going to take up 4 priority seats (5 if you sit and don't have any other children with you), but now if you're with one other friend, you're taking up 7 priority seats (more if you have other family and friends with you), and if you have ANOTHER friend with you with a giant stroller, you are now taking up ALL of the priority seating AND parking the third stroller in the aisle. Seriously, rent a minivan for the day because the rest of us HATE you!

    Also, I don't understand why when the bus is full (and sometimes even when it is not very full), people will not step off the bus and let people get past the driver and get on the bus. The driver will let you get back on, I promise. When a person has to use a cane or walker, sometimes we need that entire space between the wall behind the driver and whatever that space is next to the front door to get off of the bus. Walkers tend to be wide, and a cane has to be NEXT to you not in front of or behind you to be able to use it.

    Lastly, I do realize you are a senior and yes the priority seats are for you, too, but you should still give up your seat for people with mobility aids (and fold up your damned walkers!).

    Frankly, I would rather sit next to someone who hasn't showered in a couple of days, eating Popeye's, and talking on one of those annoying Walkie-Talkie cell phones (I don't think they make them anymore, thankfully) than have to deal with how rude and unaccommodating people are toward other riders.

  • You do realize that costs tens of millions to add an elevator to most L stations, hundreds of millions to add them to 1940s subway stations, don't you?
    Please identify the funding source & then you can complain!

  • Dear apparently,

    You mean those phones that emit an ear-splittingly loud beep? Should be grounds for automatic ejection from the bus or train car. I'm sure the technology is available.

    Yes, you give several good examples (especially the escalator) that support an overall point I have made before: Passengers who don't happen to be young and energetic and who no longer have springy knees are actually not there to create obstacles for others, they are there as passengers going about the same business of getting from point A to point B. I know there are those who, whenever this point is brought up, will authoritatively inform us that the escalator is only there to make it a little faster for them to run up (because they couldn't be bothered planning to leave the house on time so they wouldn't be desperate not to be late), and the rest of us should just go away and die, or suck it up, or just not be who they are, or some other cold-hearted and reality-dismissing excuse. I wonder how they talk to their grandmother.

    But you forgot to mention that the train they thought they heard and imagined they could catch by being rude and selfish was actually going in the other direction and was leaving the station, not arriving.

  • Let me guess Kevin. You are against smoking of anything on L platforms?

  • In reply to ibilldavis:

    iBill, I don't think it really matters what I think. CTA has prohibited smoking of anything on the platform. That's what matters.

  • In reply to Kevin O’Neil:

    It doesn't matter what you think? No opinion on cta's smoking ban, but you had an opinion, and condone the fact that cta management required operators/motormen to clean their entire 8 car train?

  • In reply to ibilldavis:

    Isn't there a statute of limitations on the cleaning thing, iBill? Sheesh. Give it up already.

    Kevin may not have an opinion on the smoking ban, but I certainly do. Anyone caught smoking on a train, bus, platform, bus shelter, or within 15 feet of a station entrance or bus shelter should be tased. When you can figure out a way to keep your foul smellig, carcinogen-laced smoke out of my lungs, and off my clothing, then you can smoke where you please. Basically, when your nasty habits cross into my personal space, you are out of bounds.

  • In reply to SpinyNorman:

    I don't smoke.

  • fb_avatar

    I, too, am against smoking of anything on L platforms (there are no smoking signs all over the place) or within 15 feet of bus stops and entrances to L stations. I have asthma and breathing in smoke or vapor of any kind causes me to not be able to breathe!

  • Totally agree.

  • I'm curious why people waiting for a train insist on standing on the edge of the platform in the blue area. If I were a motorman, I'd hate to be rolling into a station with these goofs standing inches from the train. Is standing that close to the edge going to get you on to the train any faster? A gust of wind, or a momentary loss of balance is all it takes to be toast. Why risk it?

  • In reply to SpinyNorman:

    If they fall down onto the tracks, they can then sue the CTA for millions of dollars!!! The most stupid thing I've ever seen. Mom with her two kids yesterday waiting for a Blue Line train--the boys were running up and down that blue section on the platform--clearly not paying attention to where they were running. I wish they would make an announcement for people NOT to stand at that section until the train is in the station. Too many people have fallen onto the tracks lately.

  • In reply to mulder42:

    I guess the fact that the blue section is textured is only to warn blind people that the edge is near.

  • In reply to jack:

    I'm pretty sure visually impaired passengers have more common sense not to stand there when a train isn't in the station. More common sense than the knuckleheads I see everyday.

  • In reply to mulder42:

    All I was saying was that regardless of the color, the intended function of the texture on the strips was to inform the visually impaired. As far as the knuckleheads, I sure they can see the edge of the platform, whether it is wood, blue, yellow, or chartreuse, but don't care.

  • The CTA uses blue coloring for the tactile warning stripes at its "L" station platforms although other transit properties use other colors including yellow, red, and white. The CTA has also used yellow on the tactile stripings to mark train berthing positions. On the Holiday Trains, an announcement is frequently made, "Passengers planning to take pictures of the train or the Santa car, please remember to stand well behind the blue tactile stripes so that the operator has a clear view of the train while safely closing the doors."

  • In reply to chicagopcc1:

    Metra uses a yellow strip or a stripe about 2 feet from the edge & most engineers on express trains will hit the horn loud & long if someone is stupid enough to stand there when a train passes by at 60+MPH. The suction from those express trains is amazingly strong, even several feet away.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    There is actually no suction. Did you see the Mythbusters episode where they busted the myth? Yes, there is a strong breeze that will knock you off your feet, but there is no "suction" that will pull you under the train.

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