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Chicago CTA Trains Passing
Photograph: CC/Flickr/H. Michael Miley

13 tips for being a courteous CTA neighbor (or not)

Written by
Ryan Nallen

To maintain a safe and pleasant commute, it’s important to follow some simple guidelines. From proper boarding practices to being courteous while navigating Chicago's public transit system, here are some tips for being a good CTA neighbor.

1. When boarding a train or bus, rush in as quickly as you can before the doors close because they’re on a two-second timer. If you fail to board in time, hopping onto the back as it passes by is also acceptable.

2. Let everyone know what stop you’re getting off at so people can move around accordingly. When you first board, raise your arms and loudly announce, “Belmont is my stop. I am getting off there. Me. I am Mr. Belmont.”

3. Introduce yourself to the train conductor or bus driver and let them know you’re pleased with their conducting. It’s important to be on a first name basis with your conductor so that if you’re ever running late for the train you can shout from the street, “Hey Roy, hold that train!” to which he’ll reply, “You got it, Ryan!”

4. If you see that someone has gotten stuck in a turnstile, join together with others to help push them through.

5. If you’re going to talk on your cell during your commute, make sure to put the phone on speaker. This way other riders can keep track of the flow of your conversation and, more importantly, aren’t left guessing what the other person is saying.

6. Let everyone know which Pokemon are on the bus so everyone can get their phones out accordingly. Seriously, do it. Unless it’s one of those damn Pidgeys—we’ve all had enough of them. #TeamInstinct, baby.

7. Make sure when you tag or carve onto the train car walls, it’s completely illegible and unintelligible. Everyone loves spending their commute trying to solve a graffiti Da Vinci code.

8. If some bros start catcalling, everyone should collectively boo them until they run off the train in embarrassment. Really though, we should do this.

9. If someone’s bag or luggage is taking up a seat, throw it out the window. This will result in the entire train car cheering your name and leading a parade behind you on your way to work.

10. Carry an extra set of headphones or earbuds to give to people who have forgotten theirs and have been playing their music through their phone speaker. Alternatively, if you’d like to play some music, provide the conductor with a "daily commute" playlist to play through the speakers.

11. If you’re bringing a bike on the train, please make sure to dismantle it piece-by-piece first and place it inside a CTA branded "bike bag." If you’re unable to take it apart, rest it on its side on top of the train.

12. The maps on CTA cars are disposable and are meant for the taking. Please take them at your leisure as the city wants all riders to know the CTA stops by memory. Having them at home to frequently memorize will keep people knowledgeable of all the best routes.

13. If you’re going to bring food or drinks on the train, follow the same policy your grade school teachers strictly enforced: bring enough for everyone. Mmmm, Starbucks.

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