Seven people have died on the El tracks so far this year, prompting the Chicago Transit Authority to step up efforts to keep passengers off rails and on the platform.
In a new safety campaign launched Monday, the CTA tells riders "Stay off the tracks. It’s not worth your life."
“Though the number of fatal incidents on the CTA is extremely low, one incident is one too many,” CTA President Forrest Claypool said in a prepared statement. “We continue to work to ensure the safest system possible, and to both remind and encourage our customers to take simple steps to keep themselves safe.”
The organization is getting the message across with cards and posters in rail cars, rail stations, digital signs and posters on other CTA properties.
According to a CTA analysis, the Tribune reports one person falls or climbs onto the El tracks "nearly every day" through a mix of bad decisions (going after a cell phone they dropped, "horsing around") or accidents (standing too close to the edge of the platform).
Other findings from the analysis include:
- Most of the people killed on the rail right of way during roughly the past 51/2 years died from being hit by trains or from falls
- About 20 percent of victims were electrocuted when they came in contact with the 600-volt third rail
- Roughly 205 incidents have been reported in 2013 (through July 31
- The Red Line (which is also has the highest ridership) leads all lines with 21 deaths between 2008 and 2013
- The Blue Line (with the second-highest ridership) had 20 fatalities during that same period
As part of the campaign, the CTA offers these safety tips to riders:
- Stay off CTA tracks: There are moving trains as fast as 55 m.p.h. (and approach more quickly than you may realize) and 600-volt electrified rails.
- Stand well clear of the platform edge (and blue platform edging) until your train has come to a complete stop in the station.
- The platform is not a playground: Please don't goof around, you could end up on the tracks.
- If you drop something, DON'T try to retrieve it yourself. An employee can help by holding trains and retrieving your phone or other items for you.