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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

CTA train operator pushed onto tracks at North Side Red Line stop; safety questioned

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CHICAGO (WLS) — After a CTA Red Line train operator was pushed onto the tracks and injured at the Granville stop Monday night, workers and commuters are questioning safety on the CTA.

CTA tweeted about 8:40 p.m. that 95th-bound Red Line trains were standing at Granville in Chicago’s North Side Edgewater neighborhood due to an injured train operator. Chicago police said the male operator was about to resume service southbound when a woman asked him to help retrieve a cell phone that had fallen on the tracks.

He got off the train to help, and as he looked at the tracks, he was pushed from behind onto them, police said.
The operator did not make contact with the electrified third rail, CTA officials said. He was taken to St. Francis Hospital for treatment in fair condition.

RELATED: Security guards doubled, more Chicago police on CTA Blue Line, Red Line trains amid crime spree

CTA is working with Chicago police to identify a suspect, officials said.

No one is currently in custody.

Last month, officials said violent crime on CTA trains was up 28%, prompting CPD to assign teams of officers to public transit.

“More” security guards were also assigned to trains and buses and deployed seven days a week.

Overall in 2022, crime on all CTA vehicles has jumped 41%. So far on trains in 2022, there have been 102 reports of theft, 89 reports of battery, and 63 reports of robberies, police said.

Commuter Gunnar Sadowey said he’s just purchased a car to commute to his job in Edgewater, and is fed up with the Red Line in particular.

“Just a lot of sketchy characters and I mean, just want to stand away from people, and a lot of screaming and yelling and people getting in your face,” he said. “Standard Chicago public transportation stuff.”

CTA asserted that overall it is a very safe system, saying in a statement “Though yesterday’s incident was a very rare occurrence, we absolutely will not tolerate anyone seeking to harm our employees.”

The train operators union says the answer is to bring back conductors which were cut for budgetary reasons in the late 1990s.

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