"Every winter, the homeless use the CTA's 24-hour L trains to keep warm -- riding back and forth across the frozen city. The homeless are easy to spot on late-night trains -- surrounded by parcels, their coats thrown over their heads to block the light.
A few months back, the transit agency posted signs at the four 24-hour Red Line and Blue Line terminals warning that continuous riding back and forth on one fare is prohibited. The agency said it did this as an "aid to enforcement" of a long-standing policy, and that the signs are not directed at any particular group.
"The policy is not specific to homeless people," said CTA spokeswoman Noelle Gaffney.
But homeless advocates fear the signs show the CTA wants to crack down on homeless riders, and that it shows a lack of compassion during a tough economic time when the number of homeless is on the rise."