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Photograph: Andrew Nawrocki

CTA employees avoid parking tickets with signs and vests

The transit agency says it’s looking into the use of emergency signs and CTA vests to dodge fines.


RECOMMENDED: Chicago transit guide

Are the signs and neon vests CTA employees display in their vehicles a legit way to get a pass on parking in tow zones near train stations, or are they doing this illegally?

One morning last week, it didn’t take much prodding for the CTA employee staffing an El station to fess up. The windows of his car, sitting just outside the station doors in a no-parking zone, were plastered with signs reading cta emergency. “That’s my car,” the worker acknowledged. “I want to avoid tickets. That’s why I’m doing it.” He wasn’t alone; parked behind his vehicle, a car prominently displayed a CTA vest on the front dash. “When I come in at 10 o’clock, it’s really hard to find parking,” the employee continued. He also bemoaned the rise in meter rates. But CTA employees don’t get parking amnesty, even in front of the stations they staff, says CTA spokeswoman Catherine Hosinski. “This is not in keeping with CTA policy, and a manager has been assigned to immediately look into the matter and correct it,” she says. “Additionally, workers will be reminded of our policies related to the proper use of parking signs, which are intended for use only in emergency situations.” As for the station employee abusing his agency signage, why doesn’t he just take the El to work? “I can’t take the train,” he spat back. “I live in the suburbs.”

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