Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Color Blind on the CTA

I can’t tell you how many people (at least 2-3 groups per week) get on my GREEN line train heading south instead of the ORANGE line train heading to Midway at the Roosevelt stop. I’m trying to avoid the obvious “aren’t people stupid” line here and figure out what goes wrong. Because believe me, for most of the people who make this mistake, it is apparently a HUGE mistake with massive consequences, judging by the looks on their faces when they figure out where they are actually going. I once saw a comedian on Comedy Central who mocked white people’s fear of getting on the wrong subway train to Harlem or the South Bronx as if they though people where just waiting on the platforms there to stab lost white people. I think the same idea applies to coming south on the East 63rd Line. If anything, I’ve found people to be over helpful to potentially lost white folks. (yes I do know where I’m going).

So what is the problem? Is it the confusion of two trains coming through? Is it improper signage? Is it the bland and confusingly general announcement (your attention please, and outbound train from the loop will be arriving in approximately one minute) delivered in a voice that if repeated enough would force Jack Bauer to crack? Is it inexperience? Maybe the CTA should paint the train’s entire outer body with their respective line’s colors as they did with the pink line.

On the other hand, maybe people are really just not that intelligent. The orange line trains have (granted, somewhat small) orange signs on them that say Midway (the name of the airport for the non-Chicagoans) with a little plane logo. The green line trains have green signs that say Ashland/63 in white lettering or white signs with green lettering that say East 63rd. No orange. Nothing about Midway. No planes.

Oh yeah, I can see why it’s so challenging.


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