[This is a repost from February, but the message hasn't changed: South Side CTA commuters need to figure out their alternative commute - the reconstruction of the south branch of the Red Line begins in less than a week.]
CTA brass re-emphasized the looming five-month shutdown of the south end of the Red Line during a news conference last week. Construction will begin May 19 and run through Oct. 19.
Among a large number of alternative commuting routes, the CTA will allow riders to board free at the Garfield station on the Green Line. Also, free shuttle buses from closed Red Line stations at 69th Street, 79th Street, 87th Street and 95th Street will carry passengers to the Garfield station. The CTA said it expects a tenfold increase in traffic at Garfield - from 1,300 riders a day to 13,000. Also, riders will get a 50-cent discount on bus rides south of 63rd Street during construction.
Both Metra and Pace transit agencies will try to help pick up stranded Red Line passengers. From the news release:
Metra will change the flag stops to regular stops at five Metra Electric stations in proximity to the Red Line for two inbound trains during the weekday morning rush hour, and two outbound trains in the weekday evening rush hour. Those stops are: 63rd, 75th, 79th, 87th and 95th. In addition, several Saturday trains also will make regular stops, instead of flag stops, at those five stations.
Metra will be monitoring ridership demands closely to see if further adjustments are needed.
Additionally, Pace announced two new express bus service routes during rush hours to the CTA’s Roosevelt Red Line station: one from the Pace Blue Island park-and-ride lot, the other from the Harvey Transportation Center. Each service will provide six morning and six afternoon trips for the duration of the project, as well as one midday round-trip serving Blue Island, Harvey and the Roosevelt station, said Executive Director T.J. Ross.
The three service boards also announced a joint fare product for customers using a combination of CTA, Metra and Pace service. Pre-packaged fare media would offer a Metra 10-ride pass and a discounted CTA 5-day pass, available to customers along Metra’s Rock Island District and Metra Electric District Zones B, C and D.
Officials said the passes would be a good option for frequent riders of both systems, and provide passengers convenient access to all forms of mass transit serving the area.
It's probably a good idea to start thinking now about how you will get around the South Side during the five-month shutdown.
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