Are CTA workers using vests & hats for prime parking spots?

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The I-Team uncovers Chicago Transit Authority workers using their uniforms to break parking rules.

One resident who relies on close parking says the CTA workers are taking up precious spots in front of her home.

It's usually a neon vest or a CTA hat displayed in a vehicle. Critics say it's used by some CTA employees as a free pass to park.

The I-Team first told you about the issue in December. Now there's a new area in question.

"I suffer from multiple scoliosis and I have an autistic daughter and there have been times when I have to park two blocks from my home in the winter," said Tiffany Alexander-Jones.

Tiffany Alexander-Jones says her medical condition sometimes requires her to use a cane. So when she sees CTA workers, without a residential permit, park in front of her home...

"It makes me feel as though I don't matter. I need to park here. In addition I have handicap parking but that hasn't made a difference," she said.

Alexander-Jones says that disabled parking spot and the other residential permit spots get taken regularly by vehicles without a permit. She says some are CTA workers placing their vests or hats on the dashboard, seat or rear window.

This car pictured here in her disabled spot did not have a CTA vest but it did have a CTA hat.

The I-Team spotted residential permit violators with vests and hats on our two recent visits to the area near the 95th Street Red Line station.

The I-Team's Jason Knowles saw a CTA vest on the dashboard of a car, but it also looked like they had a ticket. Turns out it's actually not a ticket it is just an envelope for a ticket.

We also saw cars with vests on the opposite side of the road. However, a city of Chicago spokesperson says a permit is not needed there so it's unclear as to why those uniforms are being displayed.

CTA workers we talked to parked on that legal side said parking in the area is a challenge.

"We do have some that break the rules and park on that side but the meter maid comes through and writes tickets," said an unnamed CTA worker.

The CTA says it does "...not condone its employees or contractors disobeying any parking regulations, nor do we allow the placement of a CTA vest in a vehicle window to circumvent parking restrictions..."

A spokesperson went on to say that the 95th station renovation project is creating parking challenges and that the CTA is now "...meeting with the contractors... to emphasize the importance of following all parking rules, and will monitor the parking restrictions to make sure all workers are complying."

"CTA should build a parking lot if they have this many employees who need parking," said Alexander-Jones.

In December, the I-Team found dozens of CTA workers getting free parking in bus lanes at the Blue Line Cumberland stop. The CTA said it did not condone behavior and that it was working to find employees free parking. The I-Team recently went back and not a single car was parked in those bus lanes.

The city's Department of Finance says the parking code is enforced with or without vests. And that vests only offer special parking privileges if there is a clear emergency.

If CTA workers are taking up spots in your neighborhood call 311 or our I-Team hotline at 312-750-TIPS or email Jason Knowles through his Facebook page.
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