Photo courtesy Daniel Schwen
More than 90% of Red Line
South customers have been using the extensive alternate service the Chicago Transit Authority
(CTA) is providing during the historic reconstruction project.
The CTA recently completed an analysis of ridership trends of customers whose commute was affected by the Red Line South Reconstruction Project, a $425 million rebuilding of 10.2 miles of tracks and refurbishment of eight stations along the route. The project completely closed the Red Line South from Cermak-Chinatown to 95th Street from May 19 through late October 2013.
To handle the diversion of Red Line South customers, the CTA implemented an extensive alternative-service plan that includes free shuttle buses between the Garfield elevated and southernmost Red Line stations; a local shuttle bus serving all stations between 95th and 63rd Streets; an express shuttle between Roosevelt and Chinatown-Cermak; and expanded bus service on several regular bus routes.
Since the project start, the CTA has continued to closely analyze rail station entries on nearby train lines as well as relevant bus and shuttle bus boardings to ensure enough rail and bus service is being provided to meet demand and provide efficient, reliable transportation to affected customers. More than 42,000 customers are using the alternative service on an average weekday — more than the entire average daily ridership of either the Purple or Pink Lines.
The impact of the project on ridership is a slight 0.6% decrease in overall CTA average weekday rail ridership. Looking at the Red Line South project area specifically, the CTA estimates a ridership decline of approximately 9.8% when comparing with Red Line South ridership in April 2013 of about 46,000 station entries to post-construction entries of 42,103. This is in line with CTA expectations for a project of this size and impact as well as with temporary ridership declines from major CTA rail construction projects over the past decade.
For most of CTA’s recent construction projects, ridership not only returned to pre-construction levels once the project ended, but saw noticeable increases.