Policies and Practices
To maintain a safe and pleasant environment for everyone, the CTA has some basic rules governing behavior on our buses and trains, as well as in CTA facilities (such as train stations and at bus turnarounds, terminals and stops).
On this page:
Per CTA Ordinance #006-75 identifies activities that are not allowed on property owned, operated or maintained by the CTA:
- Use of electronic cigarettes*
- Possessing a weapon (except pepper spray)
- Using or consuming drugs or alcohol
- Playing radios or using other devices that make sound others may hear
- Tampering with equipment
- Indecent exposure or sexual conduct
- Drunken, disorderly or disruptive conduct
- Obstructing stairs, corridors, platforms, stations or otherwise hindering access to public areas
*UPDATE (06/11/2014): Effective immediately, use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) is not permitted on any CTA bus, train, platform/station or other property. CTA’s ordinance governing rules of conduct was amended by the Chicago Transit Board during its June 2014 meeting.
Amending ordinance 006-75 to specifically prohibit e-cigarettes brings the CTA’s policy in line with a municipal ordinance passed by the Chicago City Council in January, and also helps provide consistency in Chicago Police Department's efforts to enforce smoking prohibitions. This policy, however, applies on CTA all vehicles and property both in and outside of the City of Chicago.
Additionally, please do not:
- Obstruct or hinder access to any public area
- Eat or drink any food or beverage on board buses or trains (it is OK in stations, but be sure to dispose of trash properly)
- Cross between train cars under any circumstances, unless directed to do so during an emergency
- Post bills or distribute materials in the paid area of transit stations or on CTA vehicles
- Perform music or other entertainment unless you have a valid permit and identification under the governing CTA ordinance and you do so within a designated performance area
- Offer, accept or otherwise exchange farecards (such as giving someone else a card with a remaining, active transfer)
Violating any of these prohibitions may be subject to arrest or immediate removal from CTA property, fines, community service, court supervision and/or an order for restitution.
For full details regarding prohibited activities, see the complete ordinance.
Note: Additional rules not listed in this ordinance may be established by CTA or the Chicago Transit Board and enforced by CTA employees and local police. Please follow instructions given by CTA or law enforcement personnel. Non-compliance may also result in removal from CTA property or arrest.
Service animals (animals that provide assistance to people with disabilities) are permitted on CTA at all times.
Only small pets in protective carriers are allowed on CTA buses and trains. Carriers cannot take up seats, seating areas or obstruct pathways on buses, trains or in stations and must be able to be carried on by a single person.
To ensure the comfort of others, animals in carriers need to behave in such a way that does not disturb others.
CTA reserves the right to remove from CTA vehicles or property any animals (including service animals) which act aggressively or pose a direct threat to others.
Children in strollers
Children in open strollers are welcome on CTA, however we encourage parents to be considerate of other customers and adhere to these rules when traveling with a stroller.
Keep strollers clear of aisles and doorways aboard buses and trains.
Seniors and customers with disabilities have priority use of the Priority Seating area aboard buses and trains. If these seats are not in use, open strollers may be parked in this area. This will help you to avoid blocking the aisle. Please yield this space if a customer with disabilities, a senior, or a person using a mobility device wishes to board. On buses, you may request use of the access ramp or lift to help you board and exit.
Please fold your stroller in the event that a bus or train becomes crowded, in order to make room for others. Be aware that in the event that a bus or train is crowded, a CTA employee may ask you to fold your stroller or wait for another vehicle. Please follow their instructions. Also, during certain periods of high ridership, we may require that all strollers be folded before you board.
Children in an open stroller should be seated and secured in the stroller before boarding the bus or train.
Note that strollers are never allowed on escalators. If traveling with an open stroller in a multi-level facility, please use elevators or ramps where available. On train station platforms, position your stroller parallel to the platform edge (not facing it), use wheel locks/brakes and stay with it at all times.
In general, simple personal (non-commercial) photography and video recording are permitted on CTA property and vehicles. Use of ancillary equipment, such as a tripod, or taking pictures or video of non-public areas of CTA property are not permitted.
We've put together a Photography & Video Policy page to explain the policy in some detail. It also provides some helpful tips. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with the policy.
Being a good neighbor on transit
You can help make sure everyone has a safe and pleasant trip on the CTA.
Here are some tips to help you be a good neighbor on transit:
- Move all the way in when boarding train cars, or all the way to the rear on buses to make room for everyone.
- Keep packages, bags or luggage on your lap or between your feet on buses and trains to avoid blocking aisles.
- If a bus or train gets crowded, fold your stroller or cart.
- Take everything you brought on board with you when you leave (including newspapers).
- Use trash receptacles and recycling bins, as appropriate.
- Keep your feet and belongings off of empty seats to allow others to sit down.
- Be mindful of others when talking on your phone or using electronics which others may hear (including ringtones). If you’re carrying on a conversation by text message, turn your ringer down or put your phone on vibrate.
- Allow exiting passengers out of a bus or train before attempting to board.
Help us keep service moving and on-time. Please:
- Have your fare ready before you board a bus or approach a turnstile.
- Stand clear of doors so people can easily enter and exit vehicles.
- Allow exiting passengers to leave before you attempt to board.
- Don’t hold a train in a station—if you need extra time before boarding, wait for the next train (they’re usually only a few minutes apart).
Following these rules and recommendations (as well as instructions from CTA employees while using our services) helps to make CTA more enjoyable for everyone! Thank you for your cooperation.