CTA TO STUDY EXPRESS RAIL SERVICE TO O’HARE AND MIDWAY AIRPORTS

February 5, 2003
2/5/03

Faster trips to O'Hare and Midway Airports from downtown Chicago are one step closer. The Chicago Transit Board today approved an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) between the CTA and the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) to study proposed express service to the airports.

Under the terms of the agreement, the CTA will pay CDOT $2.3 million to have TranSystems Corporation and other consultants prepare a detailed analysis of operating and planning considerations for the proposed Chicago Airport Express Service along the CTA's Blue and Orange Lines.

The changes needed to implement the service include passenger terminals at both airports and downtown; improvements to track and signal systems; and the installation of passing tracks that will allow express trains to pass local trains at certain points. The study also will include a market analysis, ridership and revenue projections for air travelers and revenue projections for package delivery services. Funding for the study is provided by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA).

"Chicago is the only city in the U.S. that provides rapid transit service to both of its major airports," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Valerie B. Jarrett. ?CTA express rail service to both O'Hare and Midway will make it even more convenient for customers to travel between the airports and downtown."

CTA President Frank Kruesi noted, "Variables such as time of day and weather can influence how travelers get to the airport. By introducing this fast, reliable, consistent express service, we hope more customers will recognize the CTA as their best option for airport travel. Not only will customers save time, they also will avoid the hassles of traffic and paying for gasoline and parking."

Currently, 2,400 air travelers use the O'Hare station and 2,000 air travelers use the Midway Station on an average weekday. Trips on the Blue Line between O'Hare and downtown take an average of 42 minutes and trips on the Orange Line between Midway and downtown take an average of 30 minutes. The new express trains will take less than 30 minutes to get to O'Hare and 20 minutes to Midway.

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