CTA Monday will begin extending Brown Line service to the Loop until midnight on weekdays to serve growing ridership and provide a level of service already available to Orange and Green Line customers. The new hours will also allow later connections with Red and Blue Line trains, and will benefit communities served by six Brown Line stations between the Loop and Belmont that have not had service after 10:15 p.m.
The six stations that will have two extra hours of service are the Merchandise Mart, Chicago Avenue, Sedgwick, Armitage, Diversey and Wellington. Since 1981, ridership at these stations has grown by 73 percent, while Brown Line ridership overall has increased by 34 percent.
"The past few years have seen tremendous development north of the Loop, and many of the people who live and work in the area use Brown Line trains to get there," said CTA Chairman Valerie Jarrett. "Whether their destinations are River North, Cabrini Green, Old Town or the Illinois Masonic Medical Center, later Brown Line service will make their trips more convenient throughout the evening."
Nighttime Brown Line service to the Loop was cut back to 10 p.m. on weekdays in 1981 in an economy move spurred by declining ridership. On Saturdays, Brown Line trains make their last Loop trips at 8 p.m., and on Sundays and holidays, there is no service south of Belmont. Brown Line trains operate as shuttles between Belmont and the north terminal at Kimball weekday evenings from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m., on Saturdays from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., and throughout the day on Sundays and holidays until 12:45 a.m. During these times, riders can connect to the Brown Line at Belmont from Red Line trains that serve the Loop 24 hours daily.
"The Brown Line has shown greater growth than any of our other lines in recent years," said CTA President Frank Kruesi, "and the way to strengthen our system is to build service where the demand clearly exists. We're working with both the state and federal governments for funding to extend platforms so trains can run with eight cars instead of six during peak hours. Later nighttime service is another improvement in the same direction."
U.S. Rep. Rod Blagojevich said, "By expanding Brown Line service, the CTA is once again demonstrating its responsiveness to commuters' needs. With more riders coming from growing communities served by the Brown Line, the expanded service will make traveling to and from downtown faster and more efficient during off-peak hours."###