CHICAGO (CBS) — It has been an extremely light and fast morning for public transit riders, whose numbers have been radically reduced by the NATO summit.
As WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports, the official Metra word is ridership was down about 50 percent from the normal 150,000 for the Monday morning rush hour.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports
But on normally full inbound Union Pacific-North line trains, it looked more like 10 or 20 percent ridership. The volume of passengers was noticeably less than Friday, and about on a par for a normal sleepy Sunday.
On a cross-Loop commute, one train driver commented on the empty street ahead…and empty seats behind her….”it’s beautiful, just beautiful.”
Although the NATO Summit is leaving, Metra plans to continue its official ban on big briefcases, backpacks, and liquids – which were enforced mostly over the weekend.
“They will stay in place for the rest of the day, and we’ll be back to our regular service tomorrow,” said Metra spokesman Michael Gillis.
Bags may not be larger than 15 inches by 4 inches – smaller even than the average purse – and backpacks and luggage are prohibited. Food and beverages are also forbidden on Metra trains during the summit period, even if they are sealed.
In addition, no tools or pepper spray are permitted on the trains.
Commuters are reminded that forbidden items can be confiscated.
Some Metra trains are also canceled. inbound trains arriving at Millennium Station until noon will operate as usual, but no trains will be running on the Blue Island branch.
All inbound Metra Electric trains scheduled between to arrive at Millennium Station between 12:57 p.m. at 6:46 p.m. are canceled.
In addition, on the Metra Electric main line, trains will not stop at 111th Street/Pullman, 107th Street/Rosemoor, 91st Street/Chesterfield, 87th Street/Woodruff, 83rd Street/Avalon Park/79th Street/Chatham, 75th Street/Grand Crossing, 63rd Street, 47th Street/Kenwood, 27th Street, McCormick Place, 18th Street, and Museum Campus/11th Street.
On the South Chicago branch, trains will not stop at 87th Street, Cheltenham/79th Street, Windsor Park, and Bryn Mawr at 71st and Jeffery Boulevard.
The Metra Electric and South Shore lines run directly under McCormick Place, where the NATO Summit is being held.