The sixth anniversary of the reopening of the CTA's Green Line finds average weekday ridership at 31,860 or 19 percent more than before the line was closed for two years of rehabilitation in 1994. Saturday ridership is up by 18 percent, and Sunday ridership by 28 percent. The Green Line was reopened for service on May 12, 1996.
Customers took a million more rides on Green Line trains in 2001 than in 1993, which was the last full year of service before the line was closed. Ridership on the Lake Street branch alone has grown by more than 52 percent since 1993. Annual ridership for the Green Line as a whole reached 9,455,726 last year.
?Clearly, the rehabilitation of the Green Line has greatly improved service from what it was before, and that has attracted many more customers," said CTA Chairman Valerie B. Jarrett. "Trips downtown take about 25 minutes from any terminal, and the upgraded stations make the Green Line the most accessible in our system. Last summer we opened a new station at Conservatory ? Central Park Drive that puts the Garfield Park Conservatory ? one of Chicago's cultural gems ? only minutes away from the Loop."
The South Side portion of the Green Line is Chicago's oldest 'L' line. Built by the Chicago & South Side Elevated Railroad, it began service using steam-powered trains in 1892. Service on Lake Street began a year later, also with steam locomotives. After a century of service, the South Side and Lake Street branches of the Green Line were closed for two years of rehabilitation in 1994. Express buses replaced 'L' service while the work progressed.
CTA President Frank Kruesi said, "Reconstruction of the Green Line was essential for the continued viability of our service. It ended the many slow zones that were needed for ongoing maintenance of the structure, and allowed trains to operate at speeds that really provided rapid transit. We?re now rehabilitating the Cermak (Douglas) branch of the Blue Line, and doing most of the work on weekends so weekday service won?t be disrupted. As on the Green Line, once this project is completed, customers will be able to make much faster trips."