The CTA has set May 19 as the date it will shut down the south branch of the Red Line, between Roosevelt and 95th. But it is hoping to keep riders by offering many of them free rides. CTA President Forrest Claypool said Thursday that entry to the rapid transit system from the Garfield Green Line station will be free throughout the construction, scheduled to continue until Oct. 19.
In addition, riders will be offered free express shuttle buses linking Garfield with the Red Line stations at 95th, 87th, 79th and 69th streets. A free local Red Line bus shuttle will operate between 95th and the Garfield Green Line station, making all stops. Yet another free bus shuttle will operate between the Cermak-Chinatown and Roosevelt stations. Claypool said the free rides are one way to mitigate what he concedes will be a five-month pain for riders. He said the Red Line carries a third of the riders on the Rapid Transit system on any given day. “It is ripping out everything that exists today from 95th to 22nd and building a brand new railroad for the benefit of our customers,” he said. Claypool predicted that the work will enable CTA to shave 20 minutes off of the round trip between Roosevelt and 95th.