CTA plans to close one branch of Blue Line

March 13, 2008 9:59:19 AM PDT
Citing low ridership, the Chicago Transit Authority says it plans to halt rapid transit train service on the 54th/Cermak branch of the Blue Line, which runs west to Cicero.CTA president Ron Huberman said Wednesday the elimination of the Blue Line branch, which starts April 27, is part of a six-month experiment to reallocate West Side transit service.

To compensate for the change, extra service will be added to the Green Line and the other two branches of the Blue Line. Trains on the Pink Line, which began rolling out in June 2006, will cover most of the 54th/Cermak route. But riders who use the 54th/Cermak to go to Racine, Clinton, or UIC-Halsted stops will have to either use the Forest Park branch of the Blue Line instead or take a bus from the Polk stop.

"We'll have to take another bus all the way to the other Blue Line which was so slow I will probably be half an hour late every day to work and to school," said Ricketa Lott, student.

CTA officials say the reason for the change is low ridership numbers on the Blue Line's 54th/Cermak branch and the opportunity to improve service. But those who currently use the line say are not happy about the plan.

"That would affect me tremendously. I think it would be a great disappointment not just for me but for all the people who go to work and go to school from here," said Raquel Vega, student.

"All you hear about is cutting back and cutting back services, which is very frustrating as a commuter and as a person that pays taxes and goes to work every day," said Bernardo Lopez, CTA rider.

CTA officials are also making changes to about a dozen bus lines to try to enhance service for those commuters who are using the Pink Line.