Today dozens of local students who recommended pink as the color for CTA's new rail line were treated to an inaugural ride on the new route. Mayor Richard M. Daley, elected officials and CTA officials gathered at CTA's Polk station with the students to celebrate the addition of an eighth rail line to CTA's system. Regular service officially begins on Sunday, June 25 at 4 a.m.
A train wrapped in pink took guests from Polk station on the new route through downtown and back to the station. The wrapped rail cars will remain in service on the Pink Line when official service begins Sunday morning. The new rail line was created as part of a package of service improvements focused on the West Side and near west suburbs.
?The service enhancements provide additional transit options that are designed to meet the needs of the growth in population and jobs throughout the West Side," said Mayor Richard M. Daley. 'service improvements such as these not only benefit customers, but also the communities in which they live and work."
?We are very excited to be launching a new rail line, as well as all of the other bus and rail service enhancements that are designed to provide more service, better connections and faster trips for our customers," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Carole Brown. ?I would like to thank all of the students who participated in the Name the Line contest. Their entries demonstrated enthusiasm for transit and an understanding of the importance of transit to the region."
In March, more than 600 Chicagoland area students ranging from kindergarten through eighth grade submitted essays recommending a color for the new line. From those essays, the Chicago Transit Board selected pink as the color for the new rail line and in May selected the winning essay from those recommending pink as the color for the new rail line.
The author of the winning essay, Eleni Vrettos, a seventh grader at Unity East Junior High in Cicero, received a $1,000 U.S. Savings Bond and a framed copy of her essay. Today she participated in the celebration by reading her essay, which cites several reasons why pink is the perfect color for the new line and points out the importance of public transit.
The Pink Line will operate seven days a week from the 54th/Cermak station in Cicero to the Loop. Pink Line hours of operation are from 4 a.m. to 1 a.m. from 54th/Cermak to the Loop and 4:25 a.m. to 1:25 a.m. from the Loop to 54th/Cermak. During morning and evening rush periods on weekdays, trains will operate every 7 1/2 minutes.
Pink Line trains will make all stops along the 54th/Cermak branch to Polk Street station. From Polk trains will cross the Eisenhower Expressway and travel along the Paulina connector to the Green Line elevated tracks, stop at Ashland and Clinton stations, then proceed into the Loop traveling clockwise, making stops at all elevated stations on the inner track.
A total of 22 stations will be served by the Pink Line. Customers will experience faster travel times between 54th/Cermak and the Loop, saving up to 10 minutes on their transit time. Direct service to the Loop elevated also means enhanced connections to the Red, Orange, Brown and Green lines, Purple Line Express service and Metra.
"CTA has worked hard over time to use the resources available to design service that is focused on customer needs," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?As a result of our efforts, CTA ridership has increased in seven of the past eight years and through this substantial investment in additional transit service for the West Side and western suburbs, we expect to see ridership continue to grow."
Enhancements to existing rail service on the Forest Park branch of the Blue Line also go into effect Sunday morning. The frequency of service on the Forest Park branch of the Blue Line will increase and improve access to CTA and Pace buses along the route. Trains will operate approximately every 7 1/2 minutes during weekday rush periods improving from every 15 minutes. The Forest Park branch of the Blue Line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
During rush hours, customers will have the choice of the new Pink Line service or existing routing of the 54th/Cermak Blue Line via the Dearborn subway. The 54th/Cermak Blue Line hours of operation on weekdays are 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. for morning rush periods, and 2:25 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. for evening rush periods. Trains will operate every half hour.
In addition to establishing new rail service and enhancing existing service on two branches, on June 18 five new bus routes were established and improvements made to eight existing bus routes. The service enhancements are being introduced on an experimental basis and the performance of these routes will be evaluated over the next six months.
The service changes were developed as a result of the West Side and Near West Suburban Corridor Study. CTA analyzed existing service in the corridor, residential and employment patterns, and development in the area. The study was part of an ongoing effort to seek out and support opportunities to enhance service, increase ridership and improve transit options for the region.
As part of the study, CTA's planning staff used on-board customer surveys and conducted nine interactive community workshops with West Side corridor residents to discuss the most effective way to link traffic generators and provide service where people live and where they want to travel. Information gathered from the survey and the workshops contributed to the development of the service enhancement plan.
Service Improvements Since 1998
Since November 1998, CTA has made service improvements on 72 percent of its bus routes, (110 out of 153 total routes), on all seven of its existing rail routes and introduced a new rail route, the Pink Line, on June 25, 2006.
A total of 308 improvements (271 bus and 37 rail) have been implemented which include 27 new bus routes and one new rail line, expanded hours of service, expanded hours at rail entrances, added trips to reduce wait times and route changes to improve access and connectivity. Most improvements come from adding trips to improve frequency of CTA buses and trains.
Information on all CTA service can by found by calling 836-7000 from any local area code or on the web site at www.transitchicago.com.# # #