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  #1  
Old 12-27-2013, 10:08 PM
Eva Luna Eva Luna is offline
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New Year's on the CTA: why say you're giving penny rides if you don't bother to collect the penny?

Just what the title says, really. Is there some legal (or other) reason the CTA can't just say everyone rides free on New Year's? That's how it's always been as far back as I can remember.
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  #2  
Old 12-27-2013, 10:26 PM
Silophant Silophant is offline
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If there is, it's state- or city-level. Metro Transit (MSP) gives totally free rides on New Year's.
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  #3  
Old 12-27-2013, 10:34 PM
SeaDragonTattoo SeaDragonTattoo is offline
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I was pondering that just the other day when I saw the familiar sign on the bus. I don't have an answer.
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Old 12-27-2013, 11:07 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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It's probably to give them an easy pretext for kicking off an obnoxious passenger, if they deem it necessary. They could probably do it even with free fares, but this way is easier.
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  #5  
Old 12-27-2013, 11:25 PM
Mr Downtown Mr Downtown is offline
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The Metropolitan Transit Authority Act forbids CTA from offering free rides, except to police officers and firefighters. Undoubtedly there was some reason this made sense in 1946.

How, exactly, CTA offered free rides on the replacement bus service during the Red Line reconstruction last summer I don't know.
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  #6  
Old 12-28-2013, 01:20 AM
engineer_comp_geek engineer_comp_geek is online now
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Moving thread from General Questions to Straight Dope Chicago at OP's request.
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  #7  
Old 12-28-2013, 01:35 AM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is offline
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Just a guess: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably ISN'T true. Everyone knows that. So they say it's a penny ride rather than free, just to sound more plausible.
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  #8  
Old 12-28-2013, 01:42 PM
dalej42 dalej42 is offline
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I've never paid cash on the bus, does the machine even take pennies? I'm sure there is no way to use a penny at a train station, I don't think any of them even have token slots.
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  #9  
Old 12-29-2013, 01:37 PM
Riga Marole Riga Marole is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
It's probably to give them an easy pretext for kicking off an obnoxious passenger, if they deem it necessary. They could probably do it even with free fares, but this way is easier.
You're probably right. Do the tickets normally expire after one hour or ...... after some time limit? If so then CTA would be free from homeless taking up residency along the way. But once tickets are free then you'd theoretically have a floating ticket good for as long as the free ticket is "valid" so to speak. By charging a penny, however, you could toss them out after the hour then require them to purchase another penny ticket, thus depriving them of a sleep-in.
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Old 12-29-2013, 01:49 PM
dalej42 dalej42 is offline
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Originally Posted by Riga Marole View Post
You're probably right. Do the tickets normally expire after one hour or ...... after some time limit? If so then CTA would be free from homeless taking up residency along the way. But once tickets are free then you'd theoretically have a floating ticket good for as long as the free ticket is "valid" so to speak. By charging a penny, however, you could toss them out after the hour then require them to purchase another penny ticket, thus depriving them of a sleep-in.
On CTA trains, you don't touch out when you exit the station. I guess you could theoretically get on the Red line and ride it back and forth forever. Everyone has to exit the train at the end of the line, but you could go to the other side of the platform and take the next train heading back.
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Old 12-29-2013, 02:03 PM
Riga Marole Riga Marole is offline
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On CTA trains, you don't touch out when you exit the station. I guess you could theoretically get on the Red line and ride it back and forth forever. Everyone has to exit the train at the end of the line, but you could go to the other side of the platform and take the next train heading back.
Oh, I see. Anyway, you have to disembark somewhere and change. So even if you go to the other side of the platform and take the next train heading back, you still have to get leave the train. That in itself would make it less desirable for hobos. Yes?

We recently got 3 new stations and they put in metal benches that slant so tramps can't lie down and sleep on them. It's even difficult for normal citizens to sit on them if you're wearing synthetic trousers! Wooops!
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  #12  
Old 12-29-2013, 11:19 PM
Mr Downtown Mr Downtown is offline
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As I thought I'd explained upthread, the Metropolitan Transit Authority Act, 70 ILCS 3605, grants specific powers to the CTA, an Illinois municipal corporation of limited powers. In 70 ILCS 3605/30 there's a list of those (police, firefighters, public health nurses, etc.) who can ride free. Apparently, CTA counsel has always interpreted this to mean it is powerless to give free rides to others (Dillon's Rule and all that, you know). No one is thrown off the bus for lack of the penny. At rail stations, the handicapped gate is opened and the station attendant will make some effort to tally the entries. Miller/Coors then pays the $2500 or whatever for the New Years Eve fares.

For decades, homeless folks have ridden back and forth all night on the trains. CTA has recently taken some half-hearted steps to reduce this, posting signs at CTA forbidding just crossing the platform to immediately board an inbound train. Announcements are also made that all passengers must leave the train. Basically, this give police on duty at O'Hare a way to shag the homeless off the trains. I assume there are similar things happening at Howard and 95th, and maybe at Forest Park as well.
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  #13  
Old 12-29-2013, 11:30 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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Probably for legal reasons. Giving a passenger a ride is considered a contract and that requires there be a payment even if it's a token sum (and even if it's not collected). Give away rides for free and they become gifts and a whole different set of laws apply.
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  #14  
Old 12-30-2013, 02:38 AM
Riga Marole Riga Marole is offline
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.... CTA has recently taken some half-hearted steps to reduce this, posting signs at CTA forbidding just crossing the platform to immediately board an inbound train.
I take this to mean that it is not illegal to tread upon the tracks themselves? That's odd. Or perhaps I don't understand.

In Sweden there are no possibilities to travers the tracks. "Changing" is done by either a footbridge or a tunnel. Stepping upon the track is illegal and the fine for doing so is expressive.
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  #15  
Old 12-30-2013, 04:12 AM
SeaDragonTattoo SeaDragonTattoo is offline
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At many stations, the platform is in the center, between the trains going each direction. All one has to do is step out of a southbound train, walk across the platform maybe 12 feet, and get on the northbound train. There is no crossing of tracks unless a person is suicidal, drunk, or stupid.

Some stations are as you would expect, either underground or requiring a series of stairs to change platforms from one direction to another. In the majority of these cases, the transfer is still free and someone determined to ride back and forth all night usually manages to do so. It's common to see homeless people with all their stuff camped out in one of the trains that runs all night, especially in winter.
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  #16  
Old 12-30-2013, 04:25 AM
Riga Marole Riga Marole is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeaDragonTattoo View Post
At many stations, the platform is in the center, between the trains going each direction. All one has to do is step out of a southbound train, walk across the platform maybe 12 feet, and get on the northbound train.
Ah yes, you're right. I wasn't thinking about that.
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  #17  
Old 01-01-2014, 10:42 AM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is offline
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Well, did anyone ride it? Did they collect a penny from you?

Personally, I stayed in all night and watched the snow out the window!
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  #18  
Old 01-01-2014, 12:25 PM
SeaDragonTattoo SeaDragonTattoo is offline
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They've never collected the penny. They put the red and white out of order stickers over the slots and the rfid readers and just wave everybody on board. I waited for a bus after work last night, about 2am, but it was crowded and I didn't feel like dealing with it, so ended up taking a cab and had a cool driver and ended up having an enjoyable ride home for once. Totally worth the fare.
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  #19  
Old 01-01-2014, 04:07 PM
SerafinaPekala SerafinaPekala is offline
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Maybe a bit OT here, but I always enjoy Chicago taxi rides. Some memorable ones were:

The friendly guy who assured me "See? not ALL Muslims are terrorists!" (did I ask? )
The Kamikaze Pakistani driver who drove full tilt weaving in traffic side-swiping and nearly rear-ending every other driver. Would have been good if I had been in labor, but no.
The African driver who told me that his "people" are even more racist than Americans!
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