Not everyone gets to choose, of course, but I was surprised to read colleenabean’s experience comparing people catching the el to those catching a Metra train:

“Commuters on the CTA walk briskly but they aren’t crazed. They move with purpose but not in a maddened state of panic like the Metra commuters do. Everyone is funneling themselves into different doorways with complete disregard for everyone else around. They have a train to catch dammit, they do this everyday, get the fuck out of the way.”

Then she had to get into a Metra car:  “The vestibule was packed with standing passengers. Like the robot I am, I shoved my way on. I got many dirty looks. Oops. This isn’t CTA where we all tolerate standing uncomfortably close to one another for a few stops. This is a long commute and I broke a rule of suburban commuting. I then noticed that while everyone’s jammed in the vestibule, there’s no one standing in the isles between the seated passengers.”

She was happy to get back on the el, but some commenters report quite a difference between Union Station and other Metra venues, such as Northwestern (excuse me, Ogilvie) and Randolph Street.  How about you?