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Getting around during the Red Line south closure

On May 19, the south portion of the Red Line will be closed from Chinatown/Cermak Station to the 95th Street terminal while the tracks are replaced. During the five months of scheduled construction, nearly 45,000 daily riders of the Dan Ryan Red Line will need to use alternative transit service.

We understand that this construction is necessary to improve our transit system, but we also know it will be an inconvenience for many riders.

So here’s the scoop about getting around during the closure, where to get the latest travel info and how to avoid delays./

Tip 1: Get to know the Green Line

During the Red Line south closure, the CTA will be using the Green Line 63rd/Ashland to connect south side riders to the Loop and beyond. If you live or work close to a Green Line station, use that during the construction.

The Green Line will operate 24/7 and all buses on east-west streets that currently serve Red Line stations will also stop at the Green Line. For example, if you currently take the 47th Street bus to the Red Line, that bus will drop you off at the Green Line.

Tip 2: Remember to get off at the Garfield Green Line station for shuttle buses

If you regularly travel south of 63rd Street on the Red Line, you will need to use the shuttle buses that CTA is providing. These buses connect the 69th, 79th, 87th and 95th/Dan Ryan stations to the Garfield station on the Green Line.

At most times of the day (4 a.m.-1 a.m.), there will be express buses that take you directly from each of these stations to the Garfield Green Line station and back. These express buses are called R69, R79, R87 and R95.

Remember, these buses only stop at Garfield and the final destination indicated by their route name. All shuttle buses are free and you will also get free entry to the Green Line if you arrive by shuttle bus.

Tip 3: Pay close attention to bus route names and destinations

If you travel between two stations south of 63rd Street (from 95th Street to 69th Street, for example), you will need to use the free local shuttle called R63. This route will run between 95th and 63rd Streets making stops along the way at all the normal Red Line stations.

Keep in mind that most of the time (4 a.m.-1a.m.) the R63 will terminate at 63rd Street; it will not take you all the way to Garfield to connect to the Green Line. So if you are hoping to get to the Loop, make sure to take an express bus instead.

If you need to travel between 1a.m. and 4 a.m., no need to worry about which bus to take. Only the local service will operate at that time and it will make all stops between 95th and the Garfield Green Line station.

Tip 4: Allow extra time for traffic and transfers/

The shuttle buses may travel directly on the Dan Ryan or through side streets as traffic allows. CTA will do its best to find the quickest route for the buses, including having real time information for bus drivers to make adjustments, but it’s a fair bet that travel times may take longer than the train, especially during rush hour.

Tip 5: Consider a different route

As part of this plan, all buses south of 63rd Street will be offering a reduced fare.  

Pace and Metra are also helping make it easier to get around during the Red Line closure. Pace will run two new express buses to the CTA’s Roosevelt Red Line station during rush hours: one from the Pace Blue Island park-and-ride lot, the other from the Harvey Transportation Center. Each service will provide six morning and six afternoon trips for the duration of the project, as well as one midday round-trip serving Blue Island, Harvey and the Roosevelt station.

Metra will change the flag stops to regular stops at five Metra Electric stations in proximity to the Red Line for two inbound trains during the weekday morning rush hour, and two outbound trains in the weekday evening rush hour. Those stops are: 63rd, 75th, 79th, 87th and 95th. In addition, several Saturday trains also will make regular stops, instead of flag stops, at those five stations.

Tip 6: Stay connected with real-time updates

We hope everything runs smoothly with the alternative service, but delays can happen. Use one of these methods to stay connected so in the event of traffic, overcrowding or service breakdowns, you can make changes to your travel plan.

Know your rights! Sign on to the Red Line South Riders Bill of Rights asking the CTA to keep its commitments to residents living in affected areas.