CTA Employees Park For Free?

06/15/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Why don't CTA employees have to feed the meters?

The CTA is working on the blue line tracks along the back side of Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park. And there are a lot of burly dudes working on the project.

But it seems some of the crew who drive to the job get out of feeding their meters and can park illegally by sticking a bright yellow or orange CTA safety vest in their window.

We get reports of this happening at locations all over the city.

According to Kevin, who lives along Milwaukee Ave., "They never seem to get ticketed," despite being parked there every day, eight hours a day, without putting a single quarter in the meter.

The reason is a time-honored tradition in Chicago called professional courtesy. Many, if not most, Parking Enforcement Aides (PEA's) will not ticket another city employee's vehicle out of courtesy. Vehicles with M (Municipal) plates or identified by a safety vest, or FOP sticker, etc., are passed over for ticketing because of this tradition of courtesy.

Ticketing the cars owned by city workers from another department would stir up a hornet's nest of trouble between the departments.

And like our resident PEA Ticketmaster says, "Inter-department wars are ugly and take a while to straighten out."

In the above photo, the vehicle on the left is ticketed, while the car with the vest gets a free pass from DOR employees and cops.

One guesses that the rest of us putzes not employed by the city will just have to feed our meters or get ticketed.

Check out The Expired Meter for even more information and advice about parking, fighting parking tickets and red light tickets in Chicago.