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Some Red Line commuters still confused about service during reconstruction

SelenClark CTA passenger talking about routes during Red Line reconstructiMonday May 13 2013.  |  John H. White~Sun-Times

Selena Clark, CTA passenger talking about routes during Red Line reconstruction, Monday, May 13, 2013. | John H. White~Sun-Times

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Updated: June 15, 2013 6:28AM

Like many CTA commuters queried Monday, Selena Clark was confused about the free and discounted bus service that starts next week with the South Side’s Red Line reconstruction project.

Midway through her 3 1/2-hour work commute — from Dolton to the Southwest Side — Clark was at the 63rd Street Red Line station trying to figure out her bus alternatives, beginning May 19.

“I catch Pace to 95th, Red Line to 63rd, and the 63rd Street bus to Archer,” said Clark, 40, a housekeeper. “I don’t know how this shuttle is going to work, and how much are the buses?”

Commuters are aware the Chicago Transportation Authority will introduce free shuttle buses at South Side stations during the five-month Red Line shutdown. But many said they were still unaware free shuttles will be mostly available south of 63rd — connecting riders with the Garfield Green Line station — and fewer were aware of the 50-cent discount offered on all buses south of 63rd.

“I take the bus to the Red Line, then downtown to the Brown or Purple Line. I wasn’t sure if a shuttle would go downtown,” said Bryan Triplett, 53, a security guard who leaves South Shore at 4:45 a.m. for a 7 a.m. work start in Rogers Park. “And 50 cents is a little help, not a lot.”

So here’s the skinny:

Four shuttles will provide free, nonstop service to the Garfield station — from the Red Line’s closed 95th, 87th, 79th and 69th street stations. They’ll start at 4 a.m. and end at 1 a.m.

One shuttle will provide a free bus service making five stops only — at the 95th, 87th, 79th, 69th and 63rd street stations. It also will run 4 a.m. - 1 a.m.

An Owl Shuttle between the hours of 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. will provide a free bus service with six stops — at the Red Line’s 95th, 87th, 79th, 69th and 63rd street stations, with the sixth stop at the Garfield Green Line station.

A final shuttle will provide free, nonstop bus service between the Red Line’s Roosevelt Road and Cermak-Chinatown stations. It will run 24 hours.

Riders boarding south of 63rd will get a 50-cent discount on 17 bus routes. Those include the #3 King Drive; #4 Cottage Grove; #6 Jackson Park Express; #8 Halsted; #9 Ashland; #14 Jeffery Jump; #15 Jeffery Local; #24 Wentworth; #26 South Shore Express; #28 Stony Island; #29 State; #44 Wallace/Racine; #48 South Damen; #49 Western; #94 South California; #52A South Kedzie; and the #53A South Pulaski.

And on 19 South Side bus routes, riders will get the 50-cent discount no matter where they board. These include the #5 South Shore Night Bus; #30 South Chicago; #34 South Michigan; #67 67th/69th/71st; #71 71st/South Shore; #75 74th/75th; #79 79th; #87 87th Street; #100 Jeffery Manor Express; #103 West 103rd; #106 East 103rd; #108 Halsted/95th; #111 111th/King Drive; #112 Vincennes/111th; #115 Pullman/115th; #119 Michigan/119th; #8A South Halsted; #95E 93rd/95th; and the #95W West 95th.

There’s a caveat, however. The 50-cent discount only applies to full-fare customers using cash, Transit Cards or Chicago Cards. It won’t work with any discounted fare or multiple-day passes.

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