The CTA That Stole Christmas

Agency accused of harassing homeless during holidays

You can decide for yourself if it's just a coincidence that the CTA is posting signs banning "continuous riders" from its trains just in time for Christmas. Maybe it's not the holidays the agency is prepping for - it could simply be winter.

But Mike Doyle at Chicago Carless is livid.

"[I]t doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why the CTA would hurry to install the aforementioned signage at the start of another Windy City winter," Doyle writes. "Of course, it isn’t necessarily legal to single out homeless people and deny them service.  (Just ask the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless about the numerous cases they’ve won against housing-status discrimination).  Especially a public service like transit."

Doyle did more than just blog about it, though. He contacted the CTA.

"I think the CTA’s bureaucratically spin-meistered answers speak for themselves - and not in a good way."

For example:

* The signs were installed to remind CTA customers of the policy which prohibits customers from continuously riding the same line without payment of another fare, and as an aid to law enforcement in dealing with violators of this rule.”

“CTA management made the decision to post the reminder for customers as a customer service.”

"The signs were posted as a customer service reminder to all CTA customers that the payment of fares only entitles them to a one-way ride and/or transfer and all customers must exit the bus or train at the end of the line."

The CTA's explanation could be true. If riders weren't reminded, they might just stay on the train without paying an extra fare and forget to get off. Or, Doyle could be right. As he says, decide for yourself.

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