More riders are filing complaints to the CTA about rude bus drivers and train operators, CTA statistics show.
The CTA has logged 97 rider complaints about rude operators this year through September, versus 66 complaints during the same time last year, according to data presented Tuesday at the CTA's quarterly riders with disabilities advisory committee meeting.
There were 82 total complaints about rude operators in all of 2013, CTA data show.
Overall, there were 109 more complaints about issues affecting riders with disabilities this year through September, from 420 complaints in 2013 to 529 complaints in 2014.
The most common complaint was about CTA employees who didn't follow protocol laid out by the Americans with Disabilities Act, a 1990 law intended to ensure equal transit access for riders with disabilities.
Those type of complaints include workers not helping to secure wheelchairs in priority seats and fare problems on buses. Riders with disabilities can board the CTA at a discounted rate.
A spokesman for ATU Local 241, the CTA bus worker union, did not respond to a request for comment.
ADA-related complaints comprise about 4 percent of the 13,655 complaints the CTA has received this year through September.
The highest jump in ADA-gripes was from July to September, when 239 complaints were logged, compared to 163 complaints in the same period in 2013.
In July, the CTA began tracking complaints specifically related to riders and strollers taking up priority seating intended for riders with disabilities and the elderly.
Federal law requires the CTA to set aside some seating on buses and trains for the elderly and riders with disabilities. Some CTA communications also encourage riders to stand up for pregnant women.
There already have been 14 complaints about priority-seating problems from July to September and four complaints about strollers. Previously, these complaints were included in other complaint categories and not broken out separately so it is not easy to tell if these priority seat and stroller complaints were up or down versus 2013.
While some transit agencies including the Pace suburban bus system have implemented rules requiring riders to fold up their strollers before boarding buses, the CTA allows riders to keep their strollers open as long as strollers don't clog aisles or take up priority seating when riders with disabilities or the elderly need the seats.
In 2012, the agency launched a stroller etiquette campaign, and bus drivers passed out fliers to remind riders of the decade-old stroller policy. The CTA said in May stroller complaints were down 60 percent in the six months after the informational campaign.
John Ward, a CTA bus facilities manager, told the ADA committee the hierarchy for priority seating is riders in wheelchairs or scooters, riders with other physical disabilities not in mobility devices, the elderly, then expectant mothers.
Ward said he works with bus drivers on how to approach riders with strollers in priority seating.
"No one appreciates being told in front of the entire bus to move," Ward said.