By Tracy Swartz
When the southern portion of the Red Line reopened last year after a five-month construction project, about 75 percent of Red Line South riders returned to the line immediately, according to data released this week by the CTA.
The South Side of the Red Line reopened Oct. 20 after the CTA spent five months replacing track and upgrading nine southern Red Line stations. In its first weekday back, Oct. 21, the Dan Ryan line saw about 40,000 riders. A typical October weekday last year drew nearly 54,000 riders, according to CTA data. The following Monday, Oct. 28, the Red Line South saw about 42,000 entries.
"For most of CTA’s recent construction projects, ridership not only returned to pre-construction levels once the project ended, but increased in the long term. However, it’s common to not see ridership resume to pre-construction levels immediately," CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said in an e-mail. "Part of that is that it takes time – sometimes several months – before customers settle into new travel patterns after a major project like this one."
The most popular stop on the line, the 95th Street station, saw about 11,000 rides on Oct. 21. The stop typically records about 13,000 entries on an average October weekday, according to CTA information. With an 85 percent return rate, the 95th Street station was best able to lure its riders back on the first weekday after the project.
During the May-October construction, the CTA shuttled riders from the shuttered stations to the Garfield Green Line station, where they could enter the CTA for free. About 3.8 million shuttle rides were taken during the $425 million project, according to CTA data.