CTA operators disciplined for failing to clean dirty trains

January 31, 2014 (CHICAGO)

CTA officials say it is difficult to keep all of those trains clean during the winter. They said they've seen a

There are at least two sides to the story when you ask, just how clean are the CTA cars?

"This is probably the worst I've seen it this year, it's been awhile since I've seen it this bad. It's pretty bad," said Roberto Ramirez, CTA rider.

"So far I've seen it clean 'cause I ride during the morning time, and I've seen it clean so far," said Pamela Purdis, CTA rider.

The debate doesn't end with CTA riders. On Friday, the transit union that represents motormen -- the CTA operators -- provided pictures as an example of the trashed-out conditions.

"The trains as you can see are much dirtier today because there is not manpower now they have gone on attack of the motorman. Yesterday, there were about a dozen one-day suspensions issued," said Robert Kelly, president, Transit Union Local 308.

A CTA spokesman says that's true. Motormen are required to help keep trains clean too. It's part of the job.

"The rail operators are required to go through the trains before they go on a train and pick up newspapers, coffee cups, basic debris," said Brian Steele, CTA spokesman.

The two sides debate the number of workers now used to clean trains, but there is one serious issue. The winter weather has pushed homeless to seek shelter, mostly on the Red and Blue Lines.

"That smell and uncleanliness lingers over into the next day and the people who have to go to work have to experience all the dirty and nastiness," said Cheru Jackson, CTA rider.

But again, it depends who ask.

"I haven't had any problems, I really haven't," said Tom Mendel, CTA rider.

The CTA confirms that at this point, ten operators have been disciplined for not cleaning the trains like the CTA believes they should. A CTA official says there are video cameras on board the trains and they expect the number of disciplined operators to increase.