White Sox fans flocked to Green Line during Red Line rehab

  • When the CTA shuttered the station closest to U.S. Cellular Field for construction for most of baseball season last year, White Sox fans flocked to the nearby Green Line instead, at times nearly tripling ridership there, according to data the CTA released this week.

    Average weekday day ridership for the 35th/Bronzeville IIT station near U.S. Cellular Field was about 6,000 entries for June through September, up from about 2,400 entries during the same time last year, CTA data show.

    The CTA closed the Sox-35th Red Line stop and eight other South Side Red Line stations for track work May 19-Oct. 20.

    A Sox spokesman said the construction did not have a "major impact" on attendance last season. About 1.7 million people came to White Sox home games last year, down from nearly 2 million in 2012.

    Nearly 20 percent of Sox fans used public transportation in 2012, Sox spokesman Marty Maloney said.

    "While CTA ridership was down slightly among White Sox fans in 2013, anecdotally we believe part of that dip was that the construction coincided with a decrease in our parking prices," Maloney told RedEye in an e-mail. "Those fans who did ride the 'L' to games seemed to be pleasantly surprised with the close proximity to the ballpark of the Green Line stop."

    The Sox last year decreased parking costs to $20 from $23 on weekends and $25 on weekdays.

    The Red Line stop is closest to the field. The 35th Green Line station is a few blocks east of the Red Line. A Metra station, the Lou Jones station, is in between.

    That station's line, the Rock Island District line, saw a slight increase in ridership in 2013 compared to 2012, according to November Metra data. Metra does not break down ridership by station.
    On May 10, when the Sox faced the Angels, the Sox-35th Red Line saw 6,559 entries. The Green Line stop that day saw 2,591 entries.

    The 35th Street Green Line station saw the most entries (8,532) in recent history on Aug. 9 when the Sox played a doubleheader with the Minnesota Twins, according to data from 2001 through August. Highest ridership for that station in 2012 was Aug. 24 when the Sox played the Seattle Mariners (3,122 entries).
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