ROSELAND — With just a few days before part of the Red Line shuts down for five months, riders trying to get information on free shuttle buses had trouble getting good information at the 95th Street station this week.
Any riders seeking to take the train downtown from that station will have to take free shuttle buses to the Green Line's Garfield Station starting Sunday. But some CTA workers couldn't tell customers exactly where they would be catching those buses when asked earlier this week.
One CTA employee working a booth at the station, who identified herself only as "Ms. Edwards," bemoaned the lack of specific details coming from CTA management.
“We don't know anything," she said. "All they gave us was this [brochure] to hand to people. It doesn't say where the buses will dock, and it's frustrating because we don't have the answers, so the customers get mad at us.”
The brochure did not detail where the buses would be or a schedule for them, although it did provide a link to the CTA's website about the reconstruction. Although it's not easy to find, that website contains a more specific link to exactly where the buses will be picking up riders at all the closed stations, including the Roosevelt, Cermak/Chinatown, 47th, 63rd, 69th, 79th 87th and 95th street stations.
Edwards had gestured towards State Street, which is just to the east of the station, as a probable site for buses to dock. As it turns out, passengers will board the bus on the west side of the station, near Lafayette Street. Those returning from the Green Line will be let off on the north side of the terminal.
A customer service representative who answered the CTA help line (888-968-7282) also said he didn't know where specific buses would pick up passengers at the 95th Street station, but he assured that CTA workers in vests will be able to help confused commuters come Monday. No CTA ambassadors could be seen at the station during two separate visits by a reporter this week.
“They have CTA ambassadors who will be at the stations to guide people where they need to be,” he said.
CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said the CTA employees should refer passengers to others if they can't answer a question.
"The ambassadors have been out for the past few weeks to hand out alternative service brochures and answer questions — they have also directed customers to redlinesouth.com or our customer service line for additional questions they may have if the ambassador didn’t have the exact answer they needed," Chase said in a email.
Chase also said bus shuttles won't have a specific schedule, but during peak rush times will run every three to five minutes and will “load and go," meaning once a bus is full of passengers, it will leave the station. During non-peak times buses will run every 6 to 12 minutes.
Some of the riders who had trouble getting specific details at the station had mixed reactions to the project.
George Wall, 26, of Blue Island, has been using the Red Line to get into the city as part of his job hunt. He said the inconvenience will be worth it in the long run.
"It's gonna be quicker, the tracks will be quicker. ... The five-month duration doesn't bother me if it improves the service."
But Latasha Banks, 40, of Riverdale, worries about the longer commute she'll have taking the Red Line to college classes at schools downtown and on the North Side.
"I have to go all the way over to North Broadway," said the mother of three. "First they close our [public] schools, now I have to travel longer to get to my classes."
London Childs, who works as a counselor in a group home in the south suburbs, said the five-month closure will leave thousands of South Side residents cut off from the city.