Discussion related to commuter rail and rapid transit operations in the Chicago area including the South Shore Line, Metra Rail, and Chicago Transit Authority.

Moderators: JamesT4, metraRI

  by Passenger
 
Getting on at Harlem about 5:30.

As I am walking to the end of the platform to position myself to get on the last car of the train, a CTA employee (orange vest, walkie talkie) motions me to stay back.

What I see is an apparent homeless man quietly sitting on one of the benches with the CTA employee shooing people away. When the train arrives, the CTA employee makes sure the homeless man gets on the train (last car).

I get on (second to last car).

At the next stop (Jefferson Park), there are some CTA employees (orange vest, walkie talkie) waiting on the platform get on the last car. An announcement comes that the train is being delayed.

I look through the end door to the last car and see the CTA employees talking to the homeless man. No one was making any obvious trouble, and the homeless man stays on the train.

The train moves very shortly after, no real delay.

What did I just see?

Thank you.
  by dinwitty
 
I recall a story on the South Shore someone without a ticket was lead to the car exit, the train stopped at the next platforms, and was booted out of the car into waiting policeman hands.

More than likely the authorities were contacted and the homeless man directed off or perhaps led off or whatever was needed, they kept you away from potential problems.
  by justalurker66
 
According to the story above the homeless man stayed on the train after the conversation at the next stop.

The dynamic are different on CTA where one pays on entry then goes wherever they want to on the rail system. Perhaps the man's problem was that he did not want to leave the system and needed the protocol of riding to a destination then leaving the system explained to him. (As a railfan I have ridden to an end of the line station then changed to a return train to ride back the other way ... but I normally buy an all day or three day pass which would allow me to leave the system and return without additional fare, so there is no fare loss by allowing me to continue to ride.)
  by Tadman
 
dinwitty wrote:I recall a story on the South Shore someone without a ticket was lead to the car exit, the train stopped at the next platforms, and was booted out of the car into waiting policeman hands.

More than likely the authorities were contacted and the homeless man directed off or perhaps led off or whatever was needed, they kept you away from potential problems.

Must've been a repeat offender. The guys on South Shore are pretty nice. I've seen them let a ticket-less guy ride all the way downtown after he promised to hit the ATM upon arrival. From what I understand, the conductors/collectors are well versed in the usual troublemakers and know who is going to truly shirk their fare versus someone who is hard up or forgetful.
  by lstone19
 
justalurker66 wrote: The dynamic are different on CTA where one pays on entry then goes wherever they want to on the rail system. Perhaps the man's problem was that he did not want to leave the system and needed the protocol of riding to a destination then leaving the system explained to him. (As a railfan I have ridden to an end of the line station then changed to a return train to ride back the other way ... but I normally buy an all day or three day pass which would allow me to leave the system and return without additional fare, so there is no fare loss by allowing me to continue to ride.)
Riding a system on one fare is sort of a tradition - at least in New York where unofficial records are kept of who does it fastest. But the last time I was at O'Hare (late June), I was surprised to see signs on the platform saying all passengers must exit the fare paid area and then re-enter if desiring to ride further.
  by justalurker66
 
lstone19 wrote:Riding a system on one fare is sort of a tradition - at least in New York where unofficial records are kept of who does it fastest. But the last time I was at O'Hare (late June), I was surprised to see signs on the platform saying all passengers must exit the fare paid area and then re-enter if desiring to ride further.
And the rate from OHare is higher than the rate from any other station on the system.
  by EricL
 
Have things changed in the last few years? It used to be fairly easy to "double back" at O'Hare. It was unlikely during most times that you could stay on/reboard the same equipment you arrived on, but the signage (NEXT TRAIN \> / DO NOT BOARD) made it easy to identify which departure was next. A lot of times the "DO NOT BOARD" train on the center platform still had its doors open, so you could cut right through there towards the other train set to leave back out. At any rate, all this could be done without leaving the paid area, so it was technically still "kinda" legit, regardless.

What good are signs gonna do if there is nobody there to enforce them? If they have to pay additional guards to watch for this kind of stuff, that seems like kind of a silly waste, and it probably offsets a sizable portion of the "extra fares"

The only absolutely 100% foolproof place to kick everyone off, as I remembered, was Dempster/Skokie. The train pulled in and discharged onto an unpaid platform, with no access to anyplace else but the exits. And being that train length has always been so short, it's been no trouble at all for the operator to walk the whole thing and check for folks. Off you go, and the only way to get back is to wait, and walk across, and go through the fare paying area again.

I used to short-turn there all the time, just for the sake of riding, and one motorman used to bark at me "you'll wear your pass out!" well, I had a "U Pass" at the time, so it was of no consequence... as a normal citizen today I wouldn't even dream of spending "real" money to do that over and over again. (I eventually befriended this fellow, and he graciously granted a couple of cab rides. This was years ago, and he must be retired by now... or else I wouldn't even say so.)
  by lstone19
 
I didn't see any enforcement - and I was only departing on the train so don't know if any announcements are made on the train as it arrives. And the signs were very low-key and easy to miss so you could no doubt make a legitimate sounding claim of ignorance.

My guess is it's to keep homeless from riding continuously and someone out touring the L might well be told "OK - just don't make a habit of it".
  by Tadman
 
EricL wrote:The only absolutely 100% foolproof place to kick everyone off, as I remembered, was Dempster/Skokie.
As a kid, my dad took me up the Skokie line once (1993 maybe?). I believe that fare control was in place already and we fibbed our way around it... "We're lost tourists from Indiana isn't this how you get to Wrigley???". They let us right back on the southbound with a funny look. I keep Indiana plates on my car as my parents still live there and it helps a bit. Got me out of a ticket at Fullerton/Lincoln once for illegal left turn.
  by byte
 
Occasionally - particularly during the colder months - the CTA will partner with social services organizations to try and get the homeless into shelters during conditions where they'd otherwise be at risk of lethal exposure to the elements (sub-zero temperatures, etc).