How to Get a Chicago CTA Performer's Permit

How to Get a Chicago CTA Performer's Permit
by Sue Basko, esq.

The Chicago Street Performer's Permit is not valid on the property of the CTA, Chicago Transit Authority. For that, you need a CTA Performer's permit, which you apply for in person at the main CTA office. There is a $10 annual processing fee. The CTA Performer's permit limits performances to only 4 locations on CTA property, all of which are on subway platforms downtown. The list of the 4 allowed CTA performance locations is below in the law. Even with the CTA permit, you are not allowed to perform in any other CTA locations! Beware -- because tickets are given and they require a court date!

The CTA Performers Permit is not valid on Chicago streets. Therefore, if you want to play on the Chicago streets as well as in the CTA, you will need both the Chicago Street Performer permit as well as a CTA permit.

CTA main office location for applying for CTA performance permit:
CTA Customer Service Center at 567 W. Lake Street, 2nd FL,
Monday through Friday, 8:00AM to 4:30PM

Here are the rules, taken from this site.

SECTION 6. The following terms are defined for purposes of this ordinance:
(a) The “four designated performance areas” are located on the platforms in the following stations:

1. Washington and State Streets;
2. Jackson and State Streets;
3. Washington and Dearborn Streets; and
4. Jackson and Dearborn Streets.

The designated performance area on each platform is located between the pair of stairwells descending from the station platform to the transfer tunnel and is bounded on the north and south by the stairwells and on the east and west by imaginary lines extending from and connecting both sides of each of the stairwells.
(b) “Perform” or “performance” means expressive activity such as, but not limited to acting, dancing, singing, painting, playing musical instruments, juggling, pantomime, magic, oration, rapping or reciting, whether done by an individual or group.

(c) “Performer” means an individual who possesses a valid permit and identification badge issued pursuant to this ordinance.

SECTION 7. Except as otherwise provided by this ordinance, no person shall engage in any performance on property owned, operated or maintained by CTA.

SECTION 8. Performances on CTA property are permitted only in the four designated performance areas and only by those persons possessing a valid permit and identification badge issued pursuant to this ordinance. If a group of persons wishes to perform in any of the four designated performance areas, each person in the group must possess a valid permit and identification badge.

SECTION 9. Applications for permits for performances in the four designated performance areas shall be available from CTA. An application for a permit shall contain the applicant’s name, address and telephone number and a signed statement by the applicant agreeing to abide by the regulations set forth in this ordinance. Upon receipt of a person’s signed application and a ten dollar ($10.00) annual processing fee, CTA shall issue that person a permit and identification badge and a copy of this ordinance. Permits and identification badges are not transferable. Permits and identification badges are not valid as a paid fare.

SECTION 10. Permits and identification badges shall be valid for a period of one (1) year and are applicable to performance in any of the four designated performance areas. The four designated performance areas are available for performances on a first-come, first-served basis.

SECTION 11. When performing in any of the four designated performance areas, each performer must display prominently his or her identification badge.

SECTION 12. All performers must confine their performances to the four designated performance areas and may not litter, deface or destroy these areas or any areas appurtenant thereto.

SECTION 13. No performer may obstruct, interfere with, or hinder the orderly flow of vehicular or foot traffic, including but not limited to ingress to and egress from the paid areas of CTA rail property. No performer may use any CTA bench during any performance. All
performers must be prepared to vacate immediately the designated performance area in the event of an emergency.

SECTION 14. No performance in any one of the four designated performance areas may generate any sound exceeding 80 decibels when measured from a distance of 10 feet. In no event may the noise levels generated by performances in any of the four designated performance areas interfere with the ability of persons to hear announcements over the public address system or by CTA employees or agents or Chicago Police or other law enforcement officials, or interfere with the ability of sight-impaired persons to utilize transit facilities or services.

SECTION 15. If a performer violates Sections 7 through 14 of this ordinance, the CTA may have the performer removed immediately from the property, confiscate his or her permit and revoke said permit for a period of up to 1 year. No permit may be revoked unless the CTA holds a hearing concerning that revocation, written notice of such hearing having been given to the performer no fewer than 7 calendar days prior to the hearing Such notice shall set forth the facts constituting the basis for the proposed revocation. The performer may appear at the hearing and make comments or answer questions or both. Within 10 business days of the hearing, CTA shall send the performer written notice of the determination of CTA and, if the determination is to revoke the permit, then the written notice shall contain a statement of the reasons for that determination.

SECTION 16. Each performer shall indemnify and hold harmless CTA and its directors, officers, representatives, employees and agents from any all claims, demands, liabilities or causes of action of any kind, including costs and attorney’s fees, arising out of such performer’s performance.