"I think it's needed, but it's too bad it's happening because it's going to inconvenience everybody," said Red Line rider Willie Henderson.
"Well, it's got to be done, so just one of those things, no sense getting upset about it. You know it's coming, do what you've got to do," said Stanley Lofton, CTA Red Line rider.
Officials know it will be inconvenient to shut down service for five months, but the alternative, they say, would have been four years of weekend work.
"We know a lot of people depend on it to get to work, to play, we know it's going to be an inconvenience during these 5 months and we're asking for patience. We think at the end of the day people will recognize that it's worth it because they'll get a brand new, faster, smoother quieter better railroad, new rail cars and modern stations," said CTA president Forrest Claypool.
The number of commuters is expected to increase tenfold at the Garfield station; crews are creating a bus depot for the shuttles that will make the run from the closed Red Line stations, they're installing two extra stairwells and a customer service kiosk.
New electronic signs will give train times and service alerts, and several new cameras are being added for extra security. To help offset the difficulties of the detours, officials will help ease the pain in the pocketbook.
"The shuttle buses from the closed Red Line stations are free, and entry at the 55th Street Green Line station are free," said Claypool.
In addition, during the five months of reconstruction, all bus service south of 63rd Street will have a 50-cent discount.
The CTA has an extensive alternate plan set up with many different options for several different areas. In fact, they've put together 12 different detour brochures, specific to the neighborhoods affected by the Red Line closure.
The main alternate will be the Green Line, which parallels the Red Line north of 63rd. Free shuttle buses will run from the closed red line stations between 95th and 69th to the Garfield station on the Green Line, where entry will also be free.
"We're also significantly increasing bus service on all the south side so people can also take alternative routes north to connect to the Green Line," said Claypool. Crews will rebuild the line, and that's expected to take 20 minutes off commutes- when the project is finished. Until then, the CTA is offering bus services and alternative routes at http://www.transitchicago.com/redsouth/.
Once the Red Line track reconstruction is complete, a separate project will get underway to expand and improve the 95th Street station and terminal, one of the busiest in the CTA's system.
Access the new CTA Train Tracker and CTA Bus Tracker
CTA Train Tracker:http://www.transitchicago.com/traintracker/
CTA Train Tracker Mobile Version:http://www.transitchicago.com/mobile/traintracker.aspx
CTA Bus Tracker:http://www.ctabustracker.com/