Week Two Summary
On Sunday, May 19, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) began the Red Line South Reconstruction project, one of the largest projects in its history. The 10.2-mile south branch of the Red Line along the Dan Ryan Expressway is being completely rebuilt into a brand new railroad that will reduce round-trip commutes between 95th Street and downtown by as much as 20 minutes. When the project is completed, the Red Line South will provide South Side customers with a smoother ride and fewer service interruptions through better reliability and on-time performance.
The CTA continues to offer several alternative service options for customers affected by the Red Line South shutdown, including: free shuttles between Red Line stations south of 63rd Street and the Garfield Elevated rail station; free entry at the Garfield Elevated station for all customers; Red Line train service running on Green Line tracks from Roosevelt to Ashland/63rd; expanded bus service on numerous nearby bus routes; and 50-cent discounts on bus rides south of 63rd Street.
The second week of the project was successful by several measures. The CTA provided its alternative service with no major disruptions or delays. Progress on the reconstruction of the south Red Line continued this week and remains on time.
Below are rider tips and a summary of activities related to Red Line South during the project’s second week:
- Customers currently using the #3 King Drive, #4 Cottage Grove and #29 State routes are encouraged to utilize free express bus shuttles from the 69th, 79th, 87th and 95th street stations to travel to the Garfield Elevated station connecting to Red and Green line trains as an attractive alternative to paying full fares and traveling for longer periods of time. Free shuttles + free train rides at Garfield = a faster, free commute!
- The #R63 local shuttles continue to make stops at all closed Red Line stations at 63rd, 69th, 79th, 87th and 95th. The R63 is a great, free option for station-to-station travel and easy transfers to desired east-west bus routes.
- Red and Green Line trains make all of the same stops between Garfield and Roosevelt. The CTA reminds customers that re-routed Red Line trains are an option with more frequent service than Green Line trains. Between Roosevelt and Garfield, Red and Green line trains make the same stops, including 51st, 47th, 43rd, Indiana and 35th-Bronzeville-IIT. This spring, the CTA invested $20 million in improvements that increase the speed and reliability of trains operating on the south Green Line.
- All entries at the Garfield station are free.
Red Line South Ambassadors return:
- The CTA continued its outreach efforts to educate customers about the benefits of free shuttles/free train service that is available at the Garfield Elevated station over using full-fare bus routes during the morning and evening rush hours.
- These efforts included sending Red Line South Ambassadors to the #29 State, #3 King and #4 Cottage Grove northbound bus stops at 79th, 87th and 95th streets.
- The ambassadors encouraged customers to take the free R79, R87 and R95 shuttles available at 79th, 87th and 95th streets. Those shuttles are easily accessible and located just a couple of blocks or less to the west. The shuttles take customers to the Garfield Elevated station, where they can take a free train downtown – a faster, cheaper option than taking the full-fare #29, #3 and #4 buses.
- Dozens of customers began using the free shuttles as a result of the efforts.
- CTA will continue to deploy Red Line South Ambassadors at similar locations throughout the week of June 3-7.
Improved customer information:
- CTA personnel distributed informational brochures at the 95th Street Terminal and at #3, #4 and #29 bus stops to remind customers about the free shuttles to Garfield.
- Larger signs were posted to make it easier for customers to locate shuttle stops at the 95th Street Terminal and the #29 State bus.
- Safety signs were posted to remind customers to cross Lafayette at crosswalks to board Pace buses at 95th Street.
- Red Line Ambassadors handed out fliers at #3, #4, #29 bus stops advising customers to use free shuttles instead of paying bus fares.
- Informational brochures about CTA’s free shuttles were placed on #3, #4, #29 buses near the bus operator areas.
The CTA’s campaign to encourage customers to take advantage of service alternatives on bus and rail continued through the second week of the project. As with week one, preliminary reports demonstrate that ridership on north-south routes – #3, #4, #8A, #9, #J14, #24 and #29 – continued to be higher than before the project began. The CTA, through its educational campaign at some bus stops for a few of these routes, convinced some passengers to take advantage of free shuttles over full-fare regular bus routes.
Last week, the CTA noticed slight increases in the number of passengers taking advantage of rail service at the Garfield Elevated station, where Green Line trains continue and Red Line trains are re-routed. This was influenced in part the CTA’s customer outreach efforts and by the occurrence of the Crosstown Classic – the Cubs and White Sox had games scheduled at U.S. Cellular Field on Monday, May 27 and Tuesday, May 28, and at Wrigley Field on Wednesday, May 29 and Thursday, May 30.
- CTA’s contractor is in the process of removing old communication and signaling systems.
- Old track was demolished both northbound and southbound from 95th Street to 79th Street and in some areas between 35th Street and Cermak Road.
- Excavation of 200,000 tons of existing ballast (the stone material that sits under train tracks) has begun.