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redeyechicago.com

Service changes to CTA buses, trains start Sunday

By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz

RedEye

11:04 AM CST, December 13, 2012

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Southbound Blue Line riders who board after O'Hare will see three additional trains during morning rush hour, but riders who board the trains at O'Hare during that time will see less service. 

The number of Blue Line trains that leave from the Rosemont station between 6:30 a.m. and 9:05 a.m. will increase from 35 to 38, according to service changes that take effect Sunday. Some of these trains will end their runs at UIC/Halsted while others will run the length of the Blue Line to Forest Park.

Six rail lines and 48 bus routes will see additional service under the controversial service plan the CTA board approved months ago to decrease crowding on buses and trains used by 76 percent of CTA's ridership. More than a dozen bus lines will see complete or partial elimination.

According to detailed timetables posted to the CTA's Web site, the number of trains that leave O'Hare from 6:30 a.m. and 9:08 a.m. will decrease from 32 to 30.

Separately, riders who board at O'Hare may be required to pay a $2.75 surcharge as part of a fare hikes plan the CTA board will vote on at a meeting Tuesday. Riders with unlimited passes would not have to pay this surcharge, which would take effect in mid-January if approved.

On the service side, the CTA said it focused its efforts on adding trains to routes during peak periods. The goal is to reduce the number of riders in a rail car from 80-plus to 75 riders.

"[The idea] is to make the existing trains a little more comfortable," said Graham Garfield, CTA general manager of customer information.

On the Brown Line, riders who travel southbound to the Loop during morning rush hour will see the wait for their trains between 7:15 a.m. and 8:50 a.m. decrease from between three and eight minutes to between three and five minutes.

But those waiting for the southbound Brown Line at Belmont between 6:30 a.m. and 7:10 a.m. will have to wait longer because there will be two fewer trains heading southbound during that time. Riders who use the Brown Line during evening rush hour will not see additional service.

The CTA has suggested riders of the No. 11 bus, which will no longer serve Lincoln Avenue between the Western and Fullerton Brown Line stations, use the Brown Line. The agency said it believes the Brown Line can handle any influx of No. 11 riders without adding more service during the evening rush hour.

Other schedule changes include:

>> More late-night trips have been added to the No. 50 Damen and No. 146 Inner Drive/Michigan Express routes.

The No. 50 southbound bus will run until 11:03 p.m., instead of 10:23 p.m., while the northbound bus will run until 12:14 a.m., instead of 11:34 p.m.

These changes will benefit those who attend Bulls and Blackhawks games and events at the United Center. The late-night schedule saw cuts during bus service reductions in 2010.

The No. 146 Inner Drive/Michigan Express also will see its late-night schedule extended. Southbound buses will run until 11:23 p.m., instead of 10:21 p.m. Northbound buses will run until 12:14 a.m., instead of 11:20 p.m.

Several No. 146 buses have been added to serve riders of the eliminated No. 145 Wilson/Michigan Express.

 

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