CTA boosting security presence amid increasing rule-breaking on trains and buses

CTA is boosting the presence of security guards on some of its busiest train lines to address an increase in rule-breaking and “potential safety concerns,” the agency said.

CTA security guards began patrolling “targeted locations” last week. That includes traveling during the day and overnight on the Red and Blue lines, which are CTA’s two busiest. Both run 24 hours.

The move comes as more people are violating CTA’s ridership rules, the agency said, which ban activities including smoking, drinking alcohol, urinating and littering. In recent weeks, riders have taken to social media to complain of behavior and dirty conditions on CTA vehicles, issues reported on by Block Club Chicago.

CTA has faced other safety complaints, too. As ridership plummeted at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rate of serious and violent crimes — like pick-pocketing, robberies, aggressive assaults and batteries and homicides — surged.

Bus drivers and train operators have demanded more protections, protesting attacks against operators.

The security guards are intended to be a deterrent and can enforce CTA rules, the agency said.

CTA is also looking to expand its work with social service agencies and Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services, which provide outreach and address homelessness issues.

The transit agency did not immediately respond to questions about the specifics of its partnerships with the social service agencies or its increased security guard patrols.

CTA has long paid private security guards to supplement patrols by the Chicago Police Department, which is responsible for enforcing laws on CTA property.