CTA Red Line South Branch Shutdown: Sketchy Owl Service Information

I'm pretty good at this transit thing.

Since I don't own a car, I rely on public transportation to get me where I need to go.

I frequently utilize the CTA/RTA trip planner tool to get out to the suburbs.  Sometimes it has glitches in its plan and may not give you the most direct route, but for the most part it's a great way to get from point A to point B.

I know how to get around on my own.

Imagine my surprise when I received contradictory information regarding overnight service or "owl service" during the south branch red line shut down.

I called the RTA Travel Information Center yesterday seeking information about how to get from downtown (State & Lake) to my home in Woodlawn after 1:30 in the morning.

I specifically asked if the Green Line would be running 24/7 in order to make a connection with an east bound 63 bus.

I was told that the last train left State and Lake at 1:24 in the morning.  That was it.  No mention that the red line was running south of Roosevelt to 63rd and Ashland and would stop at the Garfield Station.

The customer service representative didn't mention that the Garfield Station would now be open 24/7.

She also never mentioned the south bound shuttle bus option from the Garfield Station to closed south branch red line stations.

Not a word.

You know how I found out about all of this?

A friend on Facebook corrected me.

I was having a rant about the shut down and he gave me the correct information.

While I thank him for that (shout out to @chicagocarless), I shouldn't have to rely on a friend for reliable information regarding this shut down.

The RTA customer assistant didn't know.  In fact, some  CTA employees and supervisors themselves couldn't answer basic questions about owl service.

Owl service is must for not only commuters on the south side but commuters all over the city.  Many people from the hospitality and the service industry go to and from work either late and night or early in the morning.  How can they either adhere to or give input about their work schedules when the information hasn't been presented in a clear and concise manner?

Moreover, the CTA's multiple sources of information are confused.

If it weren't for my friend, the only way I would of found out about the owl shuttle service is the press conference held this morning where Commissioner Claypool made that point abundantly clear.

It's no secret that I have not been a fan of the lack of community input into this process.

Asking people for their thoughts after you make a decision that will affect their lives is slipshod at best.

Perhaps if the CTA seriously respected their south side customers they would have asked for their input prior to making this decision.  Perhaps  more intuitive concerns would have risen to the top to be addressed.

Like the dissemination of information regarding owl service.

If I wasn't able to find the correct information or was grossly misinformed, what do you think is going to be the experience of someone who may not follow the news or have access to the internet?

Asking a group of alderman who I doubt ride the south branch of the red line for their input does not a community decision make.


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