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Red Line Reconstruction: Metra to Pick up Slack

By Casey Cora | May 17, 2013 9:12am
 Metra is offering options to riders affected by the CTA Red Line reconstruction.
Metra Stop
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CHICAGO — Metra officials say they'll try to ease the pain for commuters affected by the impending CTA Red Line shutdown, but untangling schedules and pricing will take a little brainpower.

Two Metra lines may see an uptick in ridership from Far South Side commuters: The Metra Electric Line — which takes riders to downtown’s Van Buren and Millennium stations — and the Rock Island Line, which takes riders to LaSalle Street Station downtown.

"We think there will be be some increase but we're going to have to take a little bit of a wait-and-see approach. It's going to depend on people's travel patterns," Metra spokeswoman Meg Reile said.

To make things a little more convenient, Metra and the CTA last month announced a new bundle package aimed at those South Side commuters.

The bundle will be available for the duration of Red Line reconstruction project, which will replace and upgrade 10 miles of track from the Cermak/Chinatown stop to the the 95th Street stop.

Here's how it works: The bundled tickets can be bought at existing South Side CTA ticket retail outlets like Walgreens and Jewel. Commuters can buy a package that includes a Metra 10-ride pass plus a new CTA five-day pass or combo CTA/Pace five-day pass. Together the passes would cover a week of commuting.

But the prices of the bundles vary depending on a rider's proximity to downtown.

For example, the bundle costs $52 for riders using the South Side "Zone B" stops, $64 for riders using farther-south "Zone C" stops and $74 for the Far South Side "Zone D" stops.

The transit agencies recommend riders use the following Metra stations, many of which correspond with one of the shuttered Red Line stops.

For Zone B, riders should use the 63rd Street, 75th Street. and 79th Street stops on the Metra Electric Line. For the Rock Island Line, use the Gresham stop.

For Zone C, riders of the Metra Electric Line should use the 87th Street and 95th Street stops. For the Rock Island Line, use the 95th Beverly Branch and 95th Main Line stops.

For Zone D, riders of the Metra Electric Line should use the Harvey stop. For the Rock Island Line, use the Blue Island/Vermont Street stop. Those stations serve as transfer points between Metra and a number of nearby Pace bus routes.

Metra will also scrap some "flag stops" — where the trains would only stop if passengers are visible — in favor of regular stops on certain weekday morning and evenings.