The Chainlink

I often take Clinton St south on my daily commute home.  All is dandy riding the bike lane until the war zone from Madison to about Harrison. The biggest problem are those buses that trasport workers from their corporate office to the Metra and Amtrak stations.

They usually are the size of CTA buses and drive like taxis cutting over three lanes, pulling into bike lanes while randomly and abruptly slamming on their brakes. Worse is when they stop in the middle of traffic and open their doors to allow 15-20 individuals to spill out onto the bike lane while running across the street to catch the train.  I have had many close calls with these buses almost running me over and on numerous occasions would of been run over if I did't act fast. They are clearly not aware of bicyclists nor bike lanes and are unaware of the dangers associated with unloading people into oncoming traffic.

Please use caution on Clinton St.

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Des Plaines instead?

The problem is not the buses, but the drivers that drive these buses. These bus companies clearly scrape the bottom of the barrel, as far as skilled drivers go. They must be CTA rejects?

I deal with them in the morning on Clinton, in the afternoon on Jefferson. They are rude and careless.

Lately, I started using the Dearborn PBL in the afternoon on days that I take the lakefront North. Just to avoid the heavy traffic ans specifically the buses going northbound. 

Looking forward to the improvements that downtown BRT might bring to Clinton.

I often switch for Des Plaines for this reason. I would avoid Clinton entirely if not for the bike lane.  

Lisa Curcio 4.0 mi said:

Des Plaines instead?

There is a plan, to fix this problem for Union Station anyway. I'm not sure it is still happening or on schedule or what. Here is a relevant excerpt:

The Union Station Transportation Center project will create an off-street bus terminal located on the site of the existing surface parking lot south of Jackson, between Canal and Clinton (immediately north of the Amtrak-owned parking garage). It will provide direct, weather protected connections between the station and CTA buses while also relieving congestion on some of the nearby streets. Both of these CDOT-led initiatives are currently being designed and are scheduled for construction in 2013-2014.

Oh. CTA buses... I thought the plan was to handle the shuttles off-street also?  

These buses try their best to take me out at Fulton and Des Plaines, and especially by the bridge where Clinton meets Fulton.    I think they are all playing a game who can scare cyclists most.  They are worse than any Taxi I have encountered, because they "pretend" you aren't there.   Be careful

This is my biggest concern. It does appear like a game to them... 

Apie (10.6) said:

These buses try their best to take me out at Fulton and Des Plaines, and especially by the bridge where Clinton meets Fulton.    I think they are all playing a game who can scare cyclists most.  They are worse than any Taxi I have encountered, because they "pretend" you aren't there.   Be careful

good advice john. I'm sure the owners of these companies don't want the liability that an incident would create (I've also noticed they are terrible on clinton just north of washington. just outside the ogilvie train station entrance. problem is also made worse by the fact that the commuter busses (the ones that say "free enterprise system" on them are some of the worst) will not pull over to the curb at the CTA bus stop...they basically double park and then load/unload passengers. and then when they approach madison

street (going south (that's as far as I go)) they are TOTALLY unconcerned about cyclists and all over the place.



Yeah, these buses cause me to avoid Clinton completely. I take Des Plaines instead.

The drivers have no qualms about blocking crosswalks either. When I come out of Union station in the evening there is more likely than not a 'Free Enterprise' bus stopped just south of the Adams intersection with its long rear end still in the left lane of Adams. There'll be a big stream of pedestrians forced out into the Adams street traffic just to cross the street.

Thanks everyone, glad to hear that I'm not the only one seeing the problem.

I'm going to start writing down bus numbers and driver discriptions. I would encourage everyone to do the same. The more people that notify the employees the better.

Thank you,


John is correct. Reach out to the bus company instead. Call them, email them, etc. We were having a sort-of related issue with a Sysco truck parking in the PBL on Dearborn this winter. Talking to the driver resulted in nothing, calling the company, complaining, and then getting CPD to issue the driver a ticket worked. He now parks in the PARKING LANE.

Might be worth reaching out to CPD/the city (via 311) about it too. Specifically complain about those buses, on that street, on the specific days, at the specific times that they are out there. I've always had a positive response when dealing with CPD/the city in this manner.

John Durham said:

Get the company name(s) and call them. Talking to the drivers won't do any good, but when people are calling their bosses and complaining... Maybe something will change. 

When I was commuting through the loop and taking Clinton in the mornings I ran into similar issues with these buses and I did call on one driver that was particularly bad.  The gentleman I spoke with at the company seemed to take my complaints seriously, asked what the driver looked like, etc. 

I think I may have cost someone their job as I never saw that driver again, but if that got him fired he was probably on thin ice already.

It's worth a shot.

It might also help if someone with a video camera could tape them doing these things.

The purpose is two-fold:

1. - You could use it to show the "bosses" what their employees are doing.

2. - You could give it to a news outlet (Channel 2 or 5) and they could use it to show the public, resulting in bad publicity. (I guess you could let the "bosses" know that that could be a recourse to their inactivity.....)

Those are just some of my suggestions if the phone calls don't work.








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