Block Club Chicago: Smoking, Urination And ‘Unruly Behavior’ Is On The Rise On Trains, CTA Riders Say. But Will Private Security Fix Problems?

By Mack Liederman March 3, 2022 9:59 a.m. CT

Passengers wait for an arriving O’Hare-bound CTA Blue Line train at the CTA Jackson Blue Line station in the Loop on Feb. 25, 2022.

CHICAGO — When Max Merkow steps onto the train for his morning commute, most days he’s hit with clouds of weed and cigarette smoke.

“People have gotten more ballsy as of late,” said Merkow, who rides the Red and Blue lines. “Smoking on the trains is a daily occurrence. Especially in the last few months, it’s gotten absolutely rampant.”

Merkow isn’t the only one noticing. Riders across the city have lit up social media in recent weeks complaining about conditions on public transit, including smoking, littering, urination, public defecation and unruly behavior.