HYDE PARK — Metra on Wednesday proposed increasing trains to every 20 minutes for Hyde Park stops on the Electric Line throughout much of the day.
The proposal would bring train service closer to the wait times of CTA buses and trains, which south lakefront residents have wanted for at least 10 years.
Metra will do a round of community meetings in late June to get feedback on the compromises that will need to be made to increase train service for Hyde Park.
Among those trade offs would be the elimination of nine train runs on the Blue Island Branch and nine on the South Chicago Branch of the line
“Many of these trains carry only one to two customers per day,” the Wednesday announcement said. “Taken together, these trains carry an average of fewer than 10 passengers per day.”
Those cuts would allow Metra to more than double the number of trains serving the three Metra stations in Hyde Park. The number of inbound trains would increase to 18 from nine and outbound trains would increase to 18 from seven between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on weekdays.
To facilitate that increase, stops between 63rd and Kensington would see midday waits for a train drop to an hour from two hours currently. Stops between 75th Street and 111th Street would also see three new inbound and three new outbound trains on weekdays.
Metra Executive Director Don Orseno said the change is to try to halt a 14 percent drop in ridership on the Electric Line over the past six years.
“We need to do something to stem the loss of ridership on the Metra Electric Line, which has been declining for years despite the fact that the line has the newest cars and most scheduled trains on our system,” Orseno said. “This new schedule is an effort to make the best use of our existing resources by scheduling our trains in a more efficient way and enhancing service without impacting our budget.”
The majority of the train system’s lost ridership is happening on the Electric Line, with 1.4 million fewer rides on the line in the past six years, according to Metra.
Hyde Park is the area with the most growtn on the Electric Line, with ridership at the 51st/53rd Street, 55th/56th/57th Street and 59th Street stops increasing by 7.6 percent over the past three years as more housing is built nearby.
Metra will host four community meetings from 4-7 p.m. along the Electric Line before the changes go into effect.
The meetings include:
• June 19, South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Drive
• June 20, Flossmoor Village Hall, 2800 Flossmoor Rd., Flossmoor
• June 21, Blue Island City Hall, 2434 Vermont St., Blue Island
• June 22, Polsky Exchange, University of Chicago, 1452 E. 53rd St., 2nd floor