Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Red Line: It's back!!!!

Photo by Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune on Oct. 20, 2013
I posted a status on the FB page last night, hopefully anyone who's reading this blog can let us know how the commute was on the first day. Feel free to tweet us, send an e-mail or leave a comment on either the FB page or the blog itself.

To start the Chicago Tribune wrote about the re-opening of the Dan Ryan branch today:
The CTA reopened all nine Red Line stations south of Roosevelt Road on Sunday at 4 a.m. after the five-month reconstruction project.

Riders greeted the return of the CTA's Red Line south branch with mixed emotions Sunday.

Many commuters standing on the 95th Street platform on a brisk morning said the service is being restored just in time for winter.

Others said they already miss the free shuttle buses as well as boarding the Green Line for free at the Garfield stop.

"I saved a lot of money using the free service, and it was just as fast as the Red Line," said Anthony Taylor, 34, while boarding a north-bound Red Line train at 87th Street on his way to work.

Several riders grumbled about a service delay on the first day of service on brand-new tracks. CTA officials said signaling problems delayed trains for about 20 minutes between 43rd and 47th streets.

"My trip was good, but the train stopped for a couple of minutes near 47th Street," said Nyesha Brooks, 21, as she waited for a bus at the 95th Street terminal. "I wasn't expecting that at all."
Yeah, there should be a lot of money saved by this reconstruction project. South of 63rd St. fares were .50 cents off and riding the shuttle buses to Garfield was free. I think we're all sad to see that go by the wayside and in comparison to the red line if they had kept the line open with all the slow zones they were much faster. However, now that they reconstructed the line hopefully it's much faster but since the Red Line is still 24 hours service there are bound to be problems as there were this morning.

The Sun-Times illustrates some of the people who will miss those free shuttle buses:

“It’s free, and it’s waiting for you and it’s fast,” Ashley Gilbert, 19, of Chatham said Friday afternoon at the Green Line Garfield station where bus drivers in eight shuttles awaited passengers.

Since May 19, five express bus shuttles have been running from 4 a.m. until 1 a.m. Four of them provided non-stop service from closed Red Line stations ­— 95th, 87th, 79th and 63rd — to Garfield, while one ran non-stop between the Roosevelt station and the Cermak-Chinatown station. Customers also could ride a shuttle to hop stations between 63rd and 95th, for free.

Gilbert has been taking the shuttle from the Red Line 79th Street station nearly every day since construction began in May. She could have chosen another route to get from her home to downtown, but there was one thing that made up her mind: “I can go other ways, but I preferred this [shuttle] because it’s free.”

Brandon Salgado, 21, rode the shuttle from the 95th Street station to the Garfield stop on Thursday. He’s an all-day commuter, taking the shuttle to the Green Line to head downtown to Harold Washington College — then later, to Wright College in Uptown where he’s also taking classes. He said he’ll miss buses and trains awaiting his arrival, as part of the alternative service plan.

“I know the trains are faster but every time I went upstairs to the [Green Line] station, there was a train waiting for me,” said Salgado, of Gage Park. “And the shuttles too. They were always there waiting for me.”

Many riders at the Garfield Green Line station on Friday agreed.

“We got spoiled,” one man said as he raced up the stairs at the station with the words “Free Entry — walk through” written above the turnstiles.
Indeed, but at least now we can take a direct train downtown from the south side as we were able to do before May 19th.

What I regret now was that it was my intention to go back to 63rd/Halsted as I had been able to do back in June and just visit the corner where Whole Foods Market will set up shop by 2016. Probably not much activity yet, but it was something that was on my mind since that news broke early last month. Back in June it was an easy trip taking a free shuttle bus to Garfield with a free transfer there taking a train back south via the Ashland/63 Red Line and stop at Halsted. Well at least this time around I can take the train to 63rd and hop on a bus going west. :)

ALSO, there is a photo album of the reopening and the project itself at the Tribune as well.

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