Extending the CTA Blue Line west of Forest Park would help the CTA provide better service to residents and be more efficient. More stations = more markets = more riders. Most of the West Cook suburbs in the Eisenhower transportation corridor west of Forest Park have population densities high enough to make transit a viable option. The Forest Park branch of the Blue Line serves fewer riders than the O’Hare branch. Empty seats do not generate revenue. The highest ridership branch is a determining factor for how frequently to schedule trains.

After the Red Line, the CTA Blue Line has the second-highest ridership on the rail rapid transit system. The Blue Line has three segments: O’Hare, Dearborn Subway and Forest Park. The O’Hare branch has more riders and stations than the Forest Park Branch. The result is full trains on one branch and partially empty trains on the other. In 2009, the ratio of riders on the O’Hare branch to the Forest Park branch was 2.5. In 2008, it was 2.6. Ideally, the ratio should be near one to allow the CTA to run full trains.

There are 16 stations on the O’Hare branch of the Blue Line and 12 stations on the Forest Park branch. Extending the Blue Line west of Forest Park and adding stations would add markets and reduce the imbalance.

Addressing the ridership balance issue is one reason to extend the Blue Line west of Forest Park. An extension would give residents in West Cook County better access to jobs and more travel options, as well as help the CTA become more cost effective.

See our Web site – www.CitizensForAppropriateTransportation.org – for more information.

Rick Kuner
Citizens for Appropriate Transportation