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The Chicago Transit Authority's (CTA) Red Line South reconstruction project has led to a 0.6 percent decrease in overall rail ridership since the line was closed in May, agency officials announced earlier this week.Specifically in the Red Line South project area, CTA officials estimate a ridership decline of 9.8 percent when comparing April station entries of 46,000 with post-construction entries of 42,103.The impact on ridership was in line with CTA expectations for the project, a $425 million rebuilding of 10.2 miles of track and refurbishment of eight stations along the Red Line South route. The project has required the line to be closed from Cermak-Chinatown to 95th Street from May 19 through late October.Meanwhile, more than 90 percent of Red Line South riders have been using an alternate service the agency is providing to handle the diversion of the line's riders during construction. More than 42,000 riders are using the service, which includes free bus shuttles and discounted bus rides, on an average weekday, which is more than the entire average daily ridership of either the Purple or Pink lines, CTA officials said."The CTA has undertaken the Red Line South project in an unprecedented, strategic way — no other transit agency has shut down a major rail line and rebuilt it from the ground up in such a condensed period of time," said CTA President Forrest Claypool.When completed, the project will speed up round trips by as much as 20 minutes between 95th Street and downtown Chicago, he said.
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