HYDE PARK — Metra has added back some service for its southernmost riders on the Electric Line as it prepares to shift its schedule in September to focus more on Hyde Park riders.
Metra promised the revisions to a new schedule proposed in May that would have trains stop every 20 minutes in Hyde Park on weekdays, after officials heard at public meetings in June that riders didn’t want to cut service elsewhere to make it happen.
Now Metra has released a revised schedule that drops the part of the plan that eliminated train service on the Blue Island Line on Saturdays, restores some trains for early morning and late evening commuters and improves train arrival times so people can make transfers between trains.
“We have taken all the feedback we received from customers regarding our proposed new schedule and made adjustments where possible,” said Don Orseno, CEO of Metra in an announcement Wednesday. “The goal of this process was to create a schedule that uses our trains in a more efficient way and enhances service without impacting our budget.”
He said the changes are meant to stem the loss of ridership on the line, which has declined 14 percent over the last six years and accounted for the bulk of the loss of ridership for Metra system wide.
The new schedule will start Sept. 11, with trains stopping every 20 minutes at the 51st/53rd Street, 55th/56th/57th Street and 59th Street stops, where ridership has grown by more than 7 percent on the line in the last three years.
The new schedule also adds five more flag stops at 63rd Street to accommodate Mt. Carmel students.
Blue Island was to take the brunt of the cuts to add the new service and will still see the number of trains reduced to four on Saturdays, but Saturday service will not be eliminated as first proposed.
Nine trains will still be eliminated from the Blue Island branch of the line and eight from the South Chicago branch, mostly in the early morning and late evening. The trains chosen had the lowest ridership, with some carrying only one or two passengers a day, according to Metra.