MITCHELL: What does a sexy bus look like?
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I don’t know what a sexy bus looks like.
If you do, please get in touch with Rebekah Scheinfeld, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation.
Scheinfeld testified last week at the City Council budget hearings.
“We want it to be the mode of choice so people don’t feel like they have to . . . be that single occupancy vehicle stuck in that traffic. So, how do we make buses sexy?” she asked.
Hmmm. How about this.
Try making sure buses are safe, clean, dependable and able to transport passengers with some degree of dignity.
Even though CTA buses whiz past my building on the regularly, I usually snub them.
Although my Ventra pass is in my wallet, I have to have a very good reason for getting on a bus.
It isn’t the lack of “sexy” that is preventing me from committing to riding the CTA.
CTA can be, well, repugnant.
For instance, at a size 12, I should be able to sit in a seat without spilling over into someone else’s. But have you really looked at the folks climbing onto a CTA bus?
I’m not fat-shaming, but why do my leg, thigh and hips have to be smashed up against those of a total stranger.
In fact, whoever designed CTA buses must not have come to Chicago to see who would actually be using the product.
The evening commute is 10 times worse.
During evening rush, you are likely to be wedged between strangers breathing down your neck.
And those holding straps — and the way standees are positioned right in front of your face — is gross.
That’s a lot to deal with for $2.25 one way.
Last summer, I was forced to take the CTA bus for about a week. I quickly learned there are no rules. Yes, there are rules posted. But does the driver enforce them?
And I can’t blame him or her. After all, with the number of weapons on the street, you don’t know what could happen if the bus driver actually told a passenger to stop doing this or that.
So passengers have to put up with the worst behaviors, including indecent exposure, unwanted solicitation, loud — and I mean loud talking on cellphones.
Why anyone would want strangers to eavesdrop on their personal and sometimes asinine conversations is beyond me.
But this annoying behavior has taken place on just about every bus I’ve been on.
Passengers roll their eyes, but no one says a word.
I’ve witnessed a lot of other disgusting behavior on buses, like able-bodied adults hogging the seats reserved for senior citizens and people with disabilities.
You can stare them down — and nothing.
Yet I’ve had a sister offer up a seat while a young brother stayed planted.
But the biggest challenge CTA faces is the perception that public transportation is just not safe.
There’s a reason for that.
Serious crime overall on the CTA went up 16 percent in 2016. Those crimes involved mostly thefts of cellphones and other items.
Obviously, crime on CTA is not new.
It used to be thieves would snatch a woman’s gold chain right off her neck or her purse out her lap and dash out of the door of the L train.
I’ve actually seen hysterical women chase after the thieves, something that I would not recommend.
Now it’s the cellphone.
Just this month, a 25-year-old woman was arrested after she was identified as the person who snatched the cellphone of an 81-year-old man at Washington-Wabash CTA Brown Line station.
The man had to be hospitalized after he fell down the platform stairs while struggling with the young woman over his phone.
CTA is still the transport of last resort for many because we can’t take all the drama.
Scheinfeld should forget about “sexy” — safety would do.