Whether you lost your trombone or college photography final on the CTA, I’m here to clear up any confusion on how to retrieve your misplaced stuff.
More articles of clothing end up in the lost and found this time of year, according to the CTA. We're bundled up and it’s easy to lose track of hats, gloves, scarves. But, say that urn full of ashes belonging to a loved one (yes, that's happened) was found on a train and ends up in the right hands, there's still the difficult task of trying to retrieve it. That's because there are 17 different lost and founds in the CTA network; just where you pick up your item depends on where you lost it in the first place.
A glance at social media offers, at best, mixed reviews of tracking down items. There are some not-so-nice tweets complaining about CTA’s lost and found being closed on weekends and about their customer service.
Some have found ease in retrieving their things, like WGN anchor and reporter Dina Bair, whose husband left his iPhone on a CTA train at Howard.
“I called CTA myself and got right through. I didn’t think for a minute the phone would be there but was pleasantly surprised when they told me immediately the phone was found,” Bair wrote in an email. “I drove there the next morning to pick it up.”
Others have found the process a bit more strenuous, like 25-year-old Lincoln Park resident Angie Rivera, who lost her wallet on the CTA. She had taken both the bus and Red Line the day she realized it was missing. The CTA sent her parents (in Ohio, where her ID is from) a letter saying Rivera could pick up her wallet at the Blue Line's suburban Forest Park terminal.
“It was SO far. I had to go all the way to the end of the Blue Line,” Rivera said. “Nothing was really marked, so I had to wander around the station for a bit until I eventually went through some doors to what looked like a break room that had a lost-and-found window.”
Then you’ll need to know your route in order to figure out which of seven garages or 10 end-of-line rail terminals your item might have ended up at.
Say, for instance, you lost your wallet on the No. 55-Garfield bus. Scroll down and you’ll see that at the end of a driver's shift, No. 55 buses head to the 74th Street garage.
Next, call the garage or terminal to see if it's there. If so, you'll have to go there in person to pick it up.
Found items are logged and stored by CTA employees for 30 days; expensive items such as laptops are stored for 60 days.
“Items that are not claimed are usually discarded or donated,” CTA spokesman Jeff Tolman said.
Beyond common items like wallets, keys and umbrellas, some outlandish oddities have been left on CTA property—the strangest being the urn of ashes. Other strange-but-true items found, according to Tolman: enough instruments to start an orchestra, dentures, a microwave and even X-ray images.
When asked on social media what they’ve lost on the CTA, our readers sent in a slew of responses ranging from sarcastic metaphysical answers like “my patience” and “my temper” to the basics like “my Ventra card” and “my North Face gloves.”
While losing an important item can put you in a frantic frenzy, it’s important to stay calm and work on getting it back.