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CTA: Red Line south’s ridership down 10 percent

A traarrives Sox-35th CTA Red Line statiChicago Ill. Friday May 10 2013. | Andrew A. Nelles~Sun-Times Media

A train arrives at the Sox-35th CTA Red Line station in Chicago, Ill., on Friday, May 10, 2013. | Andrew A. Nelles~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: July 10, 2013 5:07PM

CTA ridership on the Red Line’s south branch on an average weekday is down by nearly 10 percent as a result of the massive Red Line South Reconstruction project, the transit agency said Wednesday.

Although not comparing apples to apples — a month compared to a month — in its ridership report, the CTA says about 46,000 entries were made to now-shuttered Red Line stations on average on weekdays in April 2013, according to the special analysis released Wednesday. The agency compared those figures to weekdays in the first two weeks of June, which showed 42,103 customers took alternative CTA routes, including shuttles to the Green Line and buses.

CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said figures for the entire month of June were not yet available, and that the first two weeks of June provided a “snapshot” of what customers were doing two weeks after the project began.

The CTA says more than 90 percent of Red Line South riders are using alternative service, including free bus shuttles to Green Line stations, and buses that run parallel to the shuttered Red Line stations.

The roughly 10 percent are either taking Pace, Metra or driving, instead of taking Red Line South routes, Chase said.

The 42,000 average weekday customers taking other routes breaks down to 20,953 customers taking the Green Line and re-routed Red Line stations; 2,219 taking the Orange Line; 10,481 taking CTA buses and 8,450 taking bus shuttles rides that weren’t part of transfers to Green and Red Line stations, according to the two-week June figures.

The bus shuttles which didn’t include transfers involved customers taking a shuttle to travel between the 63rd Street and 95th Street stations The 8,450 figure also includes riders who took a shuttle to the Roosevelt station from the Cermak/Chinatown station, Chase said.

In terms of overall CTA ridership, the impact on the project shows a 0.6 percent decline in overall weekday rail ridership, the transit agency said.

The CTA says the decline is in line with expectations for the massive $425 million project that began May 19th. The five-month shutdown of the Red Line — from Cermak to 95th — is forcing 80,000 commuters to take other routes. In addition to replacing every aspect of the tracks, the nine stations shuttered as part of the project are also getting a facelift, including new lighting and painting.

The CTA says trains will get downtown 20 minutes faster from 95th/Dan Ryan to Roosevelt when the project is completed in October.

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