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Stroller wars? CTA to launch seating campaign

  • (Chicago Tribune)
(Chicago Tribune)
October 15, 2012|By Tracy Swartz @tracyswartz | RedEye

The CTA is strolling into some controversial territory with its upcoming campaign to inform riders with strollers that priority seating is intended for the elderly and riders with disabilities.

There are no specifics as to how and when the CTA will launch this campaign, which is expected to include pamphlets and more signs. How much this initiative will cost the CTA also is not clear.

What is clear is that this is a very divisive topic among riders. Going Public receives at least a dozen complaints each year from readers who believe some riders are not following the priority seating rules.

Federal law requires the CTA to designate some seats for the elderly and riders with disabilities. On its buses and trains, the CTA denotes these seats with stickers. There also are announcements on the bus outlining who belongs in priority seating.

The announcements are where things get dicey. The longtime bus announcements mention that priority seating is intended for the elderly, riders with disabilities and expectant mothers. But the signs on the buses and trains don't include expectant mothers in the priority seating group.

This difference may be sending mixed messages as to who belongs in priority seating. This campaign may force the CTA to better outline its priority seating policies.

The CTA also doesn't always have signs on its buses and trains about strollers. According to its website, the agency's stroller rules are: "Seniors and customers with disabilities have priority use of the priority seating area aboard buses and trains. If these seats are not in use, open strollers may be parked in this area."

But riders with strollers should not be the only ones targeted by this seating campaign. Surely there are some people taking advantage of priority seating when there are others more in need of these seats.

With two months to go until the CTA's decrowding program to add more train and bus trips takes effect, seats—not just in the priority area—are in their highest demand yet.

An extra sign or two on buses that clearly state the stroller rules would be helpful to add to the multiple signs already in place delineating priority seating, but the CTA probably does not need a costly informational campaign reminding its riders about its seat rules.

The agency just needs its riders to follow the rules or it needs to start enforcing them.

Congrats, Brown Line, you have arrived

The Brown Line stars in Tuesday's premiere episode of MTV's "Underemployed," a Chicago-filmed show about new graduates trying to get established in the city. One of the hallmark moments of the debut happens on a CTA train, another on the Sedgwick platform.

Fast pass

The CTA is hosting meetings this week about express buses on Ashland and Western avenues between Howard and 95th streets.

The CTA used to have express bus service on Ashland and Western Avenues that got eliminated in the 2010 service cuts. The agency is exploring implementing bus-rapid transit, a system that typically relies on bus-only lanes and signal priority for buses.

The meetings will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Iglesia Rebano Church, 2435 W. Division St.; 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Lindblom Math and Science Academy, 6130 S. Wolcott Ave.; and 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday at Lane Tech High School, 2501 W. Addison St.

Stationary

A weekly dispatch from a CTA station of note

This week: Addison Red Line

Cubs fans know that one of the most frustrating aspects of gameday isn't the team's performance (well, maybe it is) but the narrow platforms and stairwells at the Addison Red Line station in Wrigleyville. It can take several minutes to get through the station to the park, but, luckily, the view isn't half-bad (unlike a certain team).

Next up: 47th Red Line.

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