Why Is Public Transportation Unsafe?

Public Transportation
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Public transportation
Courtesy of discosour (Flickr CC0)

Public transportation in Chicago has been criticized for being dangerous and unsafe, however, how unsafe is it?  Services like trains and buses are considered public transportation. Chicago as a whole has also been deemed violent and unsafe by the media but even if that were true, the CTA can’t be that bad right?

It is time to explore the how, the why, and maybe even some solutions when it comes to safety on public transit. The reason why is because public transportation is an extremely valuable resource that so many people without other means rely upon. Without public transportation, many people would not be able to travel to their jobs without it. For these reasons, public transportation within the city of Chicago must be safer.

The question of safety when it comes to the CTA is unambiguous. As of June 21, 2022, there have been 391 attacks, including batteries, assaults, and homicides, on CTA buses, or trains up 37% from this time last year. That matches the pre-pandemic levels of crime on public transit, which was almost evenly split with 44% attacks on buses and 56% attacks on trains, according to Chicago Police Department crime data.

This is simply inexcusable. With all the people that use public transit, how can the city of Chicago reconcile this contradiction? Why should those without a car suffer simply because they have no other means of transportation? Why should those who don’t have the means to buy and maintain a vehicle be punished for it?

The answer to all those questions is that they shouldn’t. No one should endure the stress and anxiety of wondering whether or not they are going to die trying to get to work. No one should have to wonder whether or not their children will be safe going on a bus or a train after school. These are not the features of a functional and safe society.

This is decay if there was ever a greater example. There are older people on these trains, and there are women and children. How can the city of Chicago allow these statistics to continue reflecting the city of Chicago? Something needs to change within the city. This cannot continue to be normal. This cannot continue being ignored by the city officials.

Public transportation
Courtesy of discosour (Flickr CC0)

So why, why have the politicians forsaken the people and residents of Chicago? Are the citizens not deserving of a safe and healthy city?

Are the beautiful Black, brown, and working-class people of Chicago not deserving of good, safe, and clean public transportation? Yes, they are, and they always have been. The onus is not on the residents and people of Chicago to simply “adapt” to the current state of public transportation. It is on the administrators, the politicians, and the mayor to mitigate and eliminate this major problem.

However, there is something that the citizens and people of Chicago can do when it comes to helping with this issue. The thing is when it comes to politics if the politicians can get away with keeping their power and not doing anything about major problems they will. If no one stands up to them and they remain in power with absolutely no sustained force against them, there will be no change.

So the people of Chicago must organize a strike and protest for better public transportation. One of the many strategies of those in power is to simply wait until the protests die down and then make a little symbolic gesture to say they “did” something about it. However, the people of Chicago have to make a sustained effort to get this changed because nothing will happen if they don’t. The politicians have shown they simply don’t care beyond lip service.

Action means everything, and inaction communicates everything. Something needs to change and it needs to change now. Every person that dies because the politicians in the city of Chicago didn’t fix this major problem is on their head. How many people will die because they choose to do nothing?

Written by Kenneth Mazerat
Edited by Sheena Robertson


ABC 7 Chicago: CTA bus drivers, train conductors want more security after increased violence; by Evelyn Holmes

Chicago Sun-Times: More CTA riders are getting attacked, with violence at a level not seen in over a decade; by Tom SchubaManny Ramos, and Jesse Howe

Block Club Chicago: CTA Leaders Vow To Fix Unreliable Service With More Hiring, Improved Train And Bus Tracking; by

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Discosour’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

Inset image Courtesy of Swerz Flickr Page – Creative Commons License


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