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I have no problem with ticketing sleeping CTA riders

Personally, I have no problem with the police ticketing sleeping CTA riders.

Sleeper_bent_over Tribune columnist John Kass doesn't like it. He's made a big deal about it in the last two days in his column. Police ticketed a sleeping rider recently, he had his day in court, and the city dropped the charges. That's fine too.

But the fact is, there's a law on the books against sleeping on the CTA. It's illegal. Personally, I would love love LOVE to see more cops on the trains and buses ticketing riders for doing illegal things, like sleeping and blocking seats while they sleep, eating and making a mess of it, smoking, and playing the shell game.

When I was interviewing CTA President Ron Huberman, I suggested to him that the normally worthless Securitas guards should board the trains and ticket riders for all of the above.

What do you folks think?


I find it fruitless ticketing people who sleep. While it may be law, a majority of the sleeping folk are either (a.) employed individuals who ended an entirely long shift or (b.) homeless folks that won't even have the funds to pay for an issued ticket.

Half the people I see sleeping on the train are before work or after leaving the office. The other half encountered are homeless folks in the middle of the night, many that don't trust the services provided by the city through shelters or are simply unwilling to partake in what may be available. Regarding the homeless, ticketing just ignores the problem.

And forget about Securitas enforcing the rules. When they're not strangling their malnurished dogs, they're either making social calls on their mobiles, sleeping themselves, or partaking in a cigarette on the platforms/cars. I feel just as safe on he CTA without them.

Is there a ticket for talking really loudly on your cell phone on the CTA? I would like to see that enforced.

I have a hard time seeing how my dozing off because I am a sleep-deprived working mom, sitting in one seat, leaning against the window, is possibly detracting from the riding experience of thousands of others. I'd rather see people sleeping than talking about their sex lives on their cell phones.

That's a terrible idea -- what's wrong with sleeping on the train?! Especially if you're not bothering anybody. If you're blocking a seat or in the aisle, people should just wake you up.

If there is going to be a crackdown on any of the behaviors you mentioned, there should at least be a warning campaign, instead of random ticketing (other than the shell game -- that's completely different and should be eliminated). It wouldn't really be fair to start haphazardly ticketing people for things that have been ignored for years..

Discerning who is dozing after a hard shift and someone who is a career train sleeper isn't that difficult.

The issue that offends me is those that bring buldging, pungent bags of greasy food that permeat the car with sickening oders. Various smacking, licking and slurping sounds usually follow the appearance of these odiferous sacks. The grease ends up on seats, handholds while the remainder of these "meals" end up scattered on the floor or wadded up and left on a seat.

Seems it doesn't really matter what rules are in place for travelers. There is no one around, ever, to enforce them in my commute at least (Sheridan to Evanston). Maybe it's a different story down Loop way.

I think that this is pretty extreme, and I don't understand your apparent hostility. I ride the brown line from one end to the other, twice a day, and find myself dozing off every now and then. Its not like I board the train just to spread out and look for a place to sleep. Lighten up.

In NY it is illegal for subway workers to wake a sleeping person. Think about that for a second. Should Chicago be trying to emulate the country's best public transit system? It is already adopting the subway's seating system (which is great because it will allow more people in the car and stop the masses of people from blocking the doors, which is entirely the fault of the seating arrangement). Ticketing sleepers is just silly.

Not all sleepers block seats, nor is always voluntary. I would fall asleep myself a few times when I rode the L. I didn't fall over, I didn't sprawl across seats; I just would wake up with my chin resting on my chest (& a crick in the neck). When I was in an outside seat, no one seemed to have any problem waking me--I didn't sleep so deeply that a gentle nudge or "Excuse me" in normal tones didn't rouse me.

As for the eating--well, my personal opinion is a snack or a cappable drink is probably OK. Full blown meals not so much. (Naturally, I don't go for the littering) But better to enforce that than the quiet sleeping. Again, from personal experience--when I worked 2 jobs, I had no time in between to grab anything to eat 90% of the time, so I would eat a little snack on the go. Never brought McD's, KFC, etc. on the L or the bus. Bag of chips, yes; snack bar, yes. Wrapper went into either the store's bag where I bought it or into my backpack for later disposal.

Shell game--yes, please, get rid of it & those people coming through trying to sell you candy bars or some other nonsense.

And I agree with Joe Blow--there should be a warning campaign 1st. Too much neglect in the past to suddenly decide to system-wide enforce everything.

Let sleeping people sleep. Even if they're bums. Don't let the bums sleep during rush hour. Wake them up and kick 'em off or something. But if a person is snoozing on their way to/from work, fine. If a bum is sleeping during off peak (night) hours, fine.

If a person is snacking, then give 'em a ticket. If a person is using the CTA as a toilet, arrest them.

But sleeping isn't bothering anybody. If it someone taking up 2 seats during rush hour, then wake them up and make them move, or even kick them off the train. But a fine doesn't do any good.

Yeah, I've gotten the strong impression that the folks I've seen sleeping generally are going from one job to another or from school to work or vice versa, and that's more of a workload than I could handle. Maybe instead of tugging at the hem of Ron on this one you can drop a note to your legislators suggesting they raise the minimum wage so people don't have to work two jobs to afford housing and food, and ask them to try a little harder to get business to keep jobs in the city, state, and country, so the working indigent don't have to travel for hours to work at the jobs they do manage to find.

Can Securitas workers even hand out tickets?

I wanted to clarify something: I'm not saying we should ticket EVERY SINGLE sleeping person. I'm saying I have no problem with ticketing "egregious sleepers," such as the guy pictured here. He's blocking a seat.

Obviously the vast majority of sleepers aren't bothering anyone and thus they should be left alone. But if you're taking up two seats, plus have your bags on some other seats, it's just not right and it needs to be stopped.

And no, I'm not going to wake anyone up. I really don't want to risk their wrath!

Sleeping on the El, while often somewhat obnoxious, appears to be necessary for many people, and warrants a great deal less of the CTA's attention than other matters, like filthy trains, unpredictable and infrequent service, the planet's surliest public employees, etc.

Frankly, I think that sleeping on the El is a pretty impressive achievement in certain ways. The El has to be the least restful environment imaginable, and I could never sleep on it regardless of how tired I was. I assume, therefore, that El sleepers really, really need to sleep and shouldn't be interfered with.

I say ticket for sleeping, eating, talking loud, and littering. Budget problem will be helped with this! Plus the CTA will be more pleasant

If you're not saying that every sleeping person should be ticketed, then what are the criteria to be used in issuing tickets? The only thing I can think of would be if your body is more than, say, 30 degrees from vertical. But then that should be made the rule. It's problematic to have rules that are selectively enforced.

You mention Ron Huberman and/or your interview with him four times on this current page alone (throwing hosannahs his way most of the time you mention his name). Now you come down on the ultimately harmless act of someone dozing off on the train. A ticket because I work the late shift, get off at 7 a.m. and have to ride all the way from Howard to 95th St.? C'mon, are you THAT grateful that you were granted an interview with Huberman after the disastrous Kruesi Era that you'll take his side on this silly issue? Please, there are MANY more things to worry about on the CTA than some person catching a few winks or even falling asleep accidentially. And I include the homeless in this too.

I also have no problem with sleepers on the L. It's a minor inconvenience even if they are blocking a seat.

I've heard too many stories from my wife and other female friends about men either exposing themselves to women or harrassing them inecessantly on the L. I think that there should be a stronger police presence to protect people against perverts.

I can't remember the last time I saw a sleeping person blocking a seat. On the other hand, I see folks who're wide awake blocking seats all the time.

I'm surprised by how upset people are about eating on the L. I lived in New York for three years before coming to Chicago, and people eat on the subway all the time without thinking twice about it - and the level of food-related litter wasn't any worse than it is here. As long as you don't litter or otherwise make a mess, I don't see the problem.

And besides, there are convenience stores inside numerous L stations - and some stations have soda machines INSIDE THE GATES. So they're happy to sell you snacks, donuts, and drinks in the station, but then you're not allowed to eat or drink in the very same station? That strikes me as both silly and hypocritical.

I know a lot of people won't agree with it and will think it is a double standard, and I admit that it is, but it's based on the principle that rules exist for a reason. There are really early mornings when I, behind sunglasses, sit in the seats by the door (the ones that run parallel to the car itself) and I tip my head back and nod off until I get downtown. My feet aren't out in the aisles, I don't snore, I don't roll my head on to anyone, and I don't stretch out. It's as if I were just sitting there.

People who take up a residence on the train should certainly be ticketed. It is those who blatantly inconvenience and disrespect others who should be ticketed.

I can understand the concept of acceptable sleeping--not taking up more than one seat, dozing off if it's early or after a long day.

But the eating? Generally it's disgusting, smelling and the reason there are cockroaches on the trains.

I always, in a very cynical way, find the makeup of CTA announcements funny (including the "don't be Jack" camapign). We hear 100 things we need to do or shouldn't do: attention, riders, don't drink, don't eat, don't let people in the back door, don't sleep, take your backpacks off, please move to the back, please move to the middle, watch out for thieves, watch out for con artists, call us if you see anything suspicious.

They are in such a fuss to make sure we know all of our responsibilities as riders in extreme and minute duties.


"Beep. Beep. Beep. Attention. We will be stopped for a few minutes due to a problem with 'a train.'" 30 seconds later. "Beep. Beep. Beep. Attention. We will be stopped for a few minutes due to a problem with 'a train.'" For the next 20 minutes.

I'll start paying more exacting detail to my "rider responsibilities" when the CTA gets ITS ass in line.

I boarded the NB Red Line today (Chicago, ~1:40p), and noticed a man w/a Cubs jersey standing at the doors, though there were plenty of seats. I sat down in the middle of the car. At Clark & Division, another guy gets on, sits directly behind me, then pulls out his shell game.

I immediately get up, hit the "Call" button, and tell the driver what was going on, along with the car #. I then sit down near, but not immediately next to, the emergency panel. Cubs Jersey is still standing by the doors.

When the train stopped at North & Clybourn, the driver stopped the train and walks back to our car. He then makes a cursory look at the car--I'm **pointing** at Shell Game.

Cubs Jersey, who's by the doors, directs the driver to the *next* car down. The driver takes Cubs Jersey's word for it and keeps walking. Keep in mind that the person who reported trouble (me) is a woman, and has a gender-appropriate voice, as opposed to the guy who's telling the driver that no, there's no problem here.

The driver walks back to the next car and heads back towards the front. As he passes my car a 2nd time, I point with *both* index fingers at Shell Game. The driver didn't look up, and returns to the front car. The doors close, and it's me, Shell Game, Cubs Jersey, and whoever else that's in on this shit.

As the train heads north towards Fullerton, Shell Game thanks a female passenger (Af-Am, as are Shell Game, Cubs Jersey, and I) for telling him that I'd been blatantly trying to tip off the driver. Cubs Jersey calls out Shell Game for not noticing that I'd buzzed the driver in in the 1st place.

Then Shell Game turned his attention to me. Among his proclamations:

-- "Black people need to stay out of 'gangsta' business."
(There's a punchline by Chris Rock that comes to mind, which I won't repeat here.)

-- I need to go back to Africa (Huh?),
instead of bringing diseases (Double huh?).
(If anyone cares, I'm light-skinned and moved back here from Tokyo, the land of clean, punctual trains where I rode the crowded-ass trains multiple times a day in peace.)

-- I need to be with a man. I'm "in people's business" because I'm not getting enough sex.
(If you can't keep your head up, aim low, I guess.)

As he was yelling at me, Cubs Jersey pointed his phone in my direction, but I couldn't tell from where I was sitting if it was a camera phone. He'd occasionally hold the phone up, but I don't know *exactly* what he was doing.

I silently looked at Shell Game, Cubs Jersey, and Sympathetic Woman as I thought of the Chris Rock punchline. I then thought, then "We were beaten by cops, hosed, and bitten by dogs for this shit?" and shook my head.

On a less philosophical tack, I knew that he was trying to bait me. I was also very much aware that I was outnumbered, and that the driver might not be inclined to investigate any further trouble on my car.

At Fullerton, Shell Game, Cubs Jersey, and another Af-Am man (same age & clothing) got off and headed to a different car.

I hopped off at Belmont and spoke w/the agent there, who advised that I call the CTA tomorrow.

I usually do this anyway, but now it's a rule: I'm riding on the 1st car.

Any advice from anyone out in CTATattleLand?

It's illegal to sleep on a train? WTF? That needs to be repealed. If they're trying to crack down on the homeless, just make it illegal to stink on a train. Me, I work from 9 to 6, and I could stay awake for the 30 minutes it *should* take to get between Addison and Rosemont, but not for the hour that it *does* take...

Are you serious? Get back in your cars you smug, classist, racist punks.

Sometimes I wonder why this country has ended up in a ditch and some of these comments quickly remind me why. I don't understand the blatant hatred for the homeless/displaced as much as I'd like to.

Regardless of how they got there, who are WE to look down on them when many of us are just two clicks away from losing our own stability?

Kevin, I'm surprised that you'd take this view because we all know that something like sleeping on a train is the least of the CTA's and riders' priorities. It's an obvious waste of the CTA president's time to talk about sleeping aboard trains, when maybe it's the trains travelling at 15mph that's rocking people to sleep anyway!

We have a transit system that is imploding and we're discussing writing tickets for SLEEPING? I don't know what kind of koolaid was served at CTA headquarters, but I'll pass on a sip.

Hey Deepkid: I did clarify my post later in comments when I said we should NOT ticket EVERY SINGLE sleeping person. I'm saying I have no problem with ticketing "egregious sleepers." Like those blocking a seat.

Obviously the vast majority of sleepers aren't bothering anyone and thus they should be left alone. But if you're taking up two seats, plus have your bags on some other seats, it's just not right and it needs to be stopped.

And in my mind, this is not really a problem with just homeless and displaced people. I'm talking about just plain rude people who make the CTA "experience" much worse by taking up two seats, etc.

Kevin, why don't you just admit what we all know and what only the wise "jonk" has deigned to type aloud. You, my friend, are a racist and just a terrible person overall. How dare you speak your opinion if it differs from other peoples'? The gall of your just blurting out your opinion on YOUR OWN BLOG sickens me. Rot in hell, you bastard.

Look people, you can't have it both ways. Either Chicago Public Transportation functions as effective public transportation that the mainstream uses and feels comfortable in or it's a escape valve for homeless, drunks, and people outside the mainstream.

"Sleeping" is really a code word for homeless, and you know what, that's OK. (At least, it is on an anonymous blog). And until the homeless problem, along with the other performance issues, is addressed on the CTA, Illinois politicians will keep strangling the CTA in favor of the Metra because the mainstream feels comfortable on the Metra and not the CTA.

Is it admirable? Probably not. But a Guliani-type "broken windows" campaign on the EL, combined with on-time arrivals and no slow zones, will go a long way. Of course, ticketing sleepers (the homeless) should go hand in hand with aggressive cleaning of the trains.


Sleeping is NOT a "code word for homeless". I fell asleep two days ago on my way to an interview for a new job. I fell asleep each night after working 2 weeks straight at two jobs. I've fallen asleep many other times. Falling asleep is what people do when they're tired and have to sit in place for 30+ minutes to get home.

Sleeping people on the trains are NOT a problem. They are, AT MOST, a slight inconvenience.

This notion of an "egregious sleeper" is ridiculous. Can you even offer some sort of qualification or standardized explanation of what such a sleeper is? Can you provide some sort of qualitative or quantitative parameters? Or did that one guy sitting in front of a seat bother you? How about that fat woman who HAS to sit on the aisle, but is wide awake? Is SHE in the same realm as your despised egregious sleeper?

This whole idea of ticketing sleepers stinks. How are they even going to ticket them? What if I have no ID, am I going to bet jailed?

People in the comments have listed SO MANY MORE problems than sleepers. Like, providing ample and quality security so that people won't be so balsy to do illegal, inconsiderate or stupid things.

jackspratling - thanks for telling it like it is.

I think it's a little strange that there are people here throwing around the term 'racist,' when they're the ones assuming that the homeless sleepers being talked about are not white.

When I worked in Evanston, I used to sleep on the Purple Line all the time. Come to find out, I had sleep apnea, which was causing me to be tired pretty much 24/7. Had I been ticketed for train-sleeping, who knows? I could have had an Americans with Disabilities lawsuit and wouldn't have to work today. (YES, I'm kidding.)

Even now that my apnea's under control, I'll still occasionally nod off on a bus or train. As long as I'm not blocking anyone else's access (or egregiously snoring and/or drooling) I don't think this is a problem.

Geez. People DO get tired, you know. And anyone who can squeeze in a few minutes' nap while wasting time on the CTA--hey, to me, that's efficient time-management. Get the sunflower-seed spitters--THEY'RE the true threat to society! ;)

I sleep on my way to work, as well as on my way home from work. I only get about five hours of sleep per night, and I work long hours, and am exhausted. Big deal. I bother no one, and normally, nobody bothers me. Getting hassled during your commute when you are just trying to catch a power nap is a real downer.

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