Don't be a dick. (or: Rini's 13 rules for a tolerable CTA bus experience)

21 November 2011

One of the things I love about Chicago is the fact that you can get around pretty damn well without owning your own vehicle. It’s actually a very walkable city. It’s pretty good for bikes too, I mean, not perfect, but seems good. And as walkers and b-cyclists can attest, we’ve got a great number of cabs. Also, the one we love to complain about–but I couldn’t function without–the CTA.

Personally, I’m a big fan of the CTA, or Chicago Transit Authority… I’m more of a bus person than a train, but I’m comfortable taking either. However, as I am more of a bus person than a train person, I’ve noticed there’s some simple common sense things for making the bus experience for everyone more pleasant. And so I’m going to share that with you.

1. Unless you’re running to catch the bus, have your fare ready. Nothing like waiting for the bus to arrive and then having to wait for someone to dig through their pockets and bags to find their card. If you can’t find it, step aside so others can board the bus. This is crucial in bad weather.

2. If you can’t find a seat, just go toward the back of the bus. Don’t hang out near that front door and stand there–I mean, if you’re getting off in a stop or two, okay, but don’t block the way. Especially if a lot of people keep passing you by… just suck it up and go with the flow. Only acceptable reason to stand awkwardly in the front of the bus is if whomever you’re with is sitting. But let people pass.

3. If you’re standing and a seat opens up near you, either sit in it or move so someone else can sit. Don’t block the seat.

4. Your bag does not belong on the seat. If the bus is empty, and you got like 7 bags because hey, Target had a sale.. then okay. But otherwise it’s either going to have to be on your lap or on the floor or both. If this is one of the work commute times, then just don’t put your bag on the seat. I ride an express bus, the only acceptable time to break rules is once we’re on Lake Shore Drive.

5. Hygiene.

6. To all dudes: I’m going to go out on a limb and say there’s no way your junk is that big that you need to spread your legs that far part. Are your balls on fire and you’re airing them out? Probably should just stay at home, or you know, see a doctor… but if you take the bus maybe you should stand instead.

7. Related to #6… You get one seat. Stay out of my area. Yes, this is just like the back seat of mom’s car. I will draw a line and you can’t cross it. (Unless you’re a hot dude, then, well, that’s something else.)

8. CTA says you’re not supposed to eat on the bus or train. If you are going to break this rule, do it with bus-friendly food… not something like Chinese take-out or chicken wings.

9. Please don’t lick the bus.

10. I don’t need to hear your music. Or your awkward phone conversation.

11. If you’re standing, don’t get all up in the sitting people’s space. If the bus is completely pack, then well, there’s nothing you can do. But remember they’re sitting so their faces are either are at ass/crotch or boob level and no one needs that in their face on the bus.

12. When your stop is next, pull the cord to alert the driver. You only need to pull it once. Just make sure you either hear the ding or you see on the marque that it says “stop requested”. Remember, others might be getting off at your stop, so someone else may have pulled the cord already. So there’s no need to pull the cord 20 times if that’s the case.

13. Chicago buses have “easy out” back doors. Wait until you get to your stop–and you know, the bus stops–and the light above the door turns green, then push on the yellow strip on the door. Might have to push more than once. If the bus starts to pull away from your stop and you’re still on the bus, you have every right to yell “getting off!” to the driver from the back door. Just remember to look for the green light because sometimes the bus stop is actually across the intersection and you just have to wait to the light to change–aka you’re not at the bus stop yet.

The bus really isn’t that bad. Especially with the google maps integration with the transit system. The train’s even easier. Get on. Get off. If drunks can manage the train, then any one can. And if you don’t act like a dick, then anyone can manage the bus too. Which I guess is the main rule: don’t be a dick.

  • This is such a great list, hilarious and so dead on. It almost makes me miss Chicago, but thankfully I have Seattle’s bus system to keep me warm at night 🙂

    • Erini

      I only walked when I was in Seattle… and took the monorail though! That was entertaining. 🙂

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  • All of these rules apply to NYC’s bus system, too. (And for the most part, they can also be applied to the subway.) ESPECIALLY #6. What’s up with that?!

  • Jess

    Brilliant! Yes! Agreed!

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