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New reason not to lean against the door

The Red Line motorman chastised his riders:

"Do not lean against the doors. You do not have protection. Do not lean against the doors on this trip."

Huh? What "protection"? I've never heard that reason for not leaning against the doors. In fact, I've never heard ANY reason for not leaning against the doors. Just the straight-up command not to do it.

Plus, it was funny he added "on this trip." Like, maybe it's OK to do it on your next trip, presumably when he's not behind the controls.

I know the implied reason for no leaning is that the doors might accidentally fly open en route, depositing you on the tracks, third rail, street below, or even in the river, depending on your current location.

But the "protection" and "this trip" comments did make me scratch my head -- and laugh.


I was on the Blue Line in January when the doors on one side of the train car opened suddenly as the train was moving on the tracks between Western and Damen. The car was quite full (AM rush), and people were more than surprised. Nobody fell out, but it could have easily happened had anyone been leaning on the doors.

What was more surprising was when the train pulled into the Damen station. The doors were open on the opposite side of the car. People got on and off, but nobody said anything about the open doors on the opposite (track) side, which remained open. Just as the conductor was closing the doors and the train was about to go, I shouted for somebody to please press the red call button and tell the operator the doors are open. I was standing in the middle of a crowded aisle. Finally, somebody did so. We sat for a bit as the operator came and locked the doors o that side.

Thought you'd enjoy a highlight from my co-worker's commute this morning - he saw Ron Huberman personally stand-up to a jerk harassing a woman on the crowded Red Line!

Apparently, a misbehaving guy was making innapropriate comments to a woman about how she needed to wear more clothes, was going to get raped, etc. It was on the Southbound Redline around 7:30am. No one did anything and then out of nowhere Huberman stands up and gives the guy a glare and says "You're going to get off the train."

The guy talked back and Huberman kept repeating. The guy ended up getting out at Addison and Huberman followed him out.

Now that's personal attention.

There's an operator on the Blue that, in an effort to speed boarding, reminds passengers to use all doors. The problem, however, is that he uses the p.a. and repeatedly proclaims, "There are 32 doors on this train folks, use them all... 32 doors..." He's right- there are 32 doors (not including the emergency doors between cars). But only 16 of them open at any one time since we're not opening the doors on both sides of the train.

Maybe he thought Eliot Spitzer was on the train with "Kristen."

Well, in light of the recent report on STD among teenage girls, that "You do not have protection" comment takes on a whole new meaning.

And Sara... great story! Huberman riding the Red Line?!? And at 7:30 a.m.? I might have to start liking this guy.

The conductor could have been referring to fall protection, such as that utilized by folks in construction, manufacturing, transportation, and other sectors. Reasonably interpreted by current OSHA standards, an employee at the height of six feet is supposed to be wearing a body harness, connector, lifeline, or some other anchroage system. Said conductor was probably involved in maintenance or industry previously.

The conductor could have been referring to fall protection, such as that utilized by folks in construction, manufacturing, transportation, and other sectors. Reasonably interpreted by current OSHA standards, an employee at the height of six feet is supposed to be wearing a body harness, connector, lifeline, or some other anchorage system. Said conductor was probably involved in maintenance or industry previously.

Sara, that is awesome! How many times have we seen some jerk harassing someone and no one does anything? Kudos to Huberman, not just because he's the main man at the CTA, but also for being decent.

Anyone who leans on the doors is a moron. You can easily fall out. Who hasn't seen the doors open unexpectedly?

Also, you're additionally a jerk in my book if you're standing in the doorway when people are trying to get on and off the train. Move the freak out of the way.

Props to Huberman. Now if everyone else would stand up against the jerks that harass others, blast their iPods so everyone can hear, litter, and don't stand to get out of the way when someone is trying to exit from an inside seat, maybe the commute would be better.

Unfortunately, I have seen people politely ask others to turn down their iPods, and when the jerk doesn't comply and argues with the polite requester, an dispute ensues and the people on the train end up defending the loud iPod user.

Or people just sit there when they notice the person next to them leaving their Redeye on the seat.

Or two people stand in the doorway while others are trying to exit.

Or people will others harass others because of how they look.

If more people stood up for others, or stood up for what is right, this world would be a better place.

Sara, that's great. I have a new respect for Huberman.

I was on the Red Line about three months ago when the train took off from Jackson with the door still open...I called the operator and said that we had a door open and he answered back...

"That's impossible, the train cannot move if there is a door open"

with the breeze gently whipping through everyone's hair, ruffling the pompoms on top of their knit caps.

He then came back and yelled at me for calling him over something...but the other passengers backed me up. No apology, of course, but he did at least take the door out of service.

Yeah, I've been on trains when the doors opened outside of staions (can't remember if we were moving or not) - other than during the collision years ago - and it was on the outside on an elevated section on the brown line; good thing it wasn't rush hour anymore. So it can and does happen ever so often, from time to time.

BTW wouldn't there be 32 doors on the old(er) style car with the blinker doors assuming an 8-car train?

If the entire train had blinker doors, then yes. But, the first two and last two cars have the newer-style sliding doors, so at most there are only 24.

Mike, I've never "seen the doors open unexpectedly," and a quick office survey of commuters just makes the ol' goose egg bigger. Maybe it's you?

Just kidding about that last part. And I agree about blocking the doors. But I'm going to continue to believe that doors that abruptly, unexpectedly open are pretty extraordinarily rare.

I've seen a pink line train pull into 18th station with one set of doors on the opposite side of the platform, already open. It then left the station and the doors still never closed. I called 311, who patched me into 911, and then a three-way call to CTA Control. I gave them the car number and what station it just left and they said they'd take care of it. I hope they did. I'd hate to be riding over that portion of track with the door wide open. There's no edging and it gets pretty high off the ground over there! Flying on a pink line at 40 mph at 30 feet with a door open doesn't seem like something I'd like to tempt. There were a few people in the car, too, just minding their own business... bizarre.

I was on a Blue Line train that sat in the tunnel near Division for about 20 minutes with no explanation during evening rush this past week. The standing passengers of course got tired and restless and were all leaning on doors - and then the operator started opening and closing the doors without warning. Next thing I hear is some guy shouting at an employee somewhere down on the tracks: "Hey! My bag fell down there! What am I supposed to do?" I didn't hear any more from him so I guess he either knelt down and reached it, or someone handed it back up. But suddenly opening the doors after a long wait in the tunnel, without any warning, seemed like a very dangerous thing to do!

I saw a red line train speed into Belmont with some dumbass kids holding it open once.

and another time, I was on the brown line, and before we started moving again, the conductor said, "let go of the doors, let GO of MY DOORS."

It was just the way she said it, but I was laughing for about five minutes.

The doors most definitely DO open when the train is in motion, and when I reported this to the Red Eye's CTA columnist she replied back that they receive reports of this on a regular basis.

The first time I witnessed this was on the Blue Line while we were flying through the curve on the way to Clark/Lake. The doors on the opposite side of the platform opened up while people were standing there - they tried in a panic (unsuccessfully) to force them closed so no one would get hurt. I can't imagine if that had happened on a elevated track with a packed car and people's backs to the door as it opened... terrifying.

When we arrived in the station and the doors remained open I hit the call button and told the engineer. She came to the car and proceeded to scold us all for not calling her earlier. No apology, no explanation. Nice, eh?

This is why you do not lean against the doors.


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