Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The CTA Guy

Since I live downtown and don’t own a car, I ride Chicago’s trains and subways a lot.

For those of you who have ridden the CTA, (Chicago Transit Authority) I’m sure you’re familiar with that guy’s voice that makes the announcements on the trains.

He has a nice, mellifluous voice and I’ve often wondered what he’s like.

Here’s a recording of him announcing a station. (Click below to hear it)


See? Isn’t that a nice voice? I pictured him as a average-looking guy, about 35 years old.

Well, it turns out that his name is Lee, he’s from Milwaukee, in his late 40s, married with two kids. He became “The CTA guy” back in 1999 when he won a contest to become CTA’s announcer. Whenever the CTA has to include new announcements, such as when they opened the new Pink Line, Lee comes down from Milwaukee and supplies his voice.

However, there’s another voice Chicagoans have heard over and over. Whenever you’re standing at an “L” station, an announcement comes on to tell you that an inbound or an outbound train is about to arrive.

Here it is: Outbound_Train.wav

That’s a woman’s voice. I don’t know who she is or why Lee didn’t get to supply that announcement. It’s a huge mystery to me.

Frankly, I think it’s Oprah. Doesn’t that sound like Oprah to you?

Whenever you’re on the train, Lee occasionally makes other announcements such as, "Smoking, littering, and playing radios or loud devices is prohibited."


I really wish more people would pay attention to Lee when he says that. Frankly, I think Lee needs to be more specific with an announcement like, “Leaving chicken bones on passenger seats is incredibly rude. Now please exit the goddamn train, you inconsiderate cretin! Thank you.”

Another announcement Lee should add to his repertoire should be played near the sports stadiums: “Attention customers. If you’ve had too much beer at the game and are about to throw up, kindly exit the train before hurling the entire contents of the concession stand from your stomachs. Your cooperation is appreciated. Thank you.”

I wish I knew how to contact Lee in Milwaukee to give him my suggestions.

So, if any of you are visiting in Chicago and happen to ride the CTA, you’ll know a little something about “the CTA guy.”

I hope you enjoy your stay.

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At 5:26 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not Oprah. If it was it would say something like "inbound train arriving...all you conceded shauvinisting insensitive men step back and give the ladies some room. Have a blessed day."

At 5:28 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chauvinistic (and illiterate?) that is...

At 9:39 PM , Blogger Miss Healthypants said...

I would also like to know who that woman is...she always says "toward the LOOP," like the "loop" is a horrible place to be going to.


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