O'Hare people mover is back with state-of-the-art upgrades

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Tuesday, November 2, 2021
O'Hare people mover returns to service after upgrades
Chicago O'Hare International Airport's people mover is back in action after several years and hundreds of millions of dollars in upgrades.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- O'Hare International Airport's people mover is back in action after several years.

The sleek, shiny new trains zip across the airport at up to 50 miles an hour, transporting almost 150 travelers in each car from the parking and rental car lots to each of O'Hare's four terminals. Frequent travelers have been looking forward to its return.

"I'm here for business, so I want my travel to be as efficient as possible," said Nicole Drake, traveler.

The people mover is a major upgrade from the shuttle buses that have been running during the airport's construction project.

"We're looking forward to the train," said Michael Kelly, traveler. "The buses are fine, but it's cold."

The city has paid more than $323 million for the people movers project, but officials said the fully automated trains are state of the art. The only other system like it is in Taiwan.

Aviation department officials said that rarity is one of the reasons the project is opening several years behind the original schedule. Construction began in 2017, and the people mover was originally projected to be open the following year.

"What I would say is we've met a number of challenges. This is a very complex project," said Aviation Commissioner Jamie Rhee.

Aviation officials say the new transit system will dramatically increase the capacity, speed and efficiency of airport. The trains will take about 10 minutes to travel from one end of the line to the other. With three miles of dual lane track it will use 36 cars each holding up to 147 passengers, more than double the previous system.

The trains will run from 10:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. starting Wednesday. Officials expect to extend those hours early in 2022.