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RTA Introducing New Signs To Help Riders Find Transfers

roberts250 Bob Roberts
Bob Roberts is a native of Wilmette who has worked in Chicago media...
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CHICAGO (CBS) — If you have ever become lost trying to transfer between Metra, CTA and Pace, the RTA has heard your complaint, and is trying to do something about it.

Where the agencies have fallen down is trying to explain what connects where. RTA Division Manager Kevin Stanciel said even when the connection is a few feet away riders can be confused, much more so if there’s a short walk.

He said it became evident when questioning riders at Davis Street, Evanston, about ways to transfer to between Metra and CTA trains and CTA and Pace buses.

“You’ll have people on the CTA platform looking and saying, ‘Where’s Metra?’ or they may be on the Metra platform and saying, ‘Where’s CTA,'” even though each station is visible from the other.

CTA changed signage first, advising riders which way it was to “The street and Metra.” But he said that still didn’t help everyone.

“Since these signs have been in, people have on the Metra platform at Davis Street and have asked, ‘Where do I catch the Pace bus?'” he said.

The new signage directs train riders to specific bus boarding areas, an idea adapted from British transfer stations. There are now three such boarding areas, for instance, at Chicago Union Station. Stanciel said the goal is to end confusion and promote transit use by making transfers easy.

Signage that could eventually be installed at 100 locations is being tested at Davis Street, at Chicago Union Station, at Joliet Union Station, at the Van Buren Electric District stop and at 95th Street and Western Avenue, on the Chicago-Evergreen Park border, which is a busy transfer point between CTA and Pace bus routes.

The cost so far is $2 million.

RTA Principal Analyst Joe Moriarty said between 15 and 20 additional transfer points will receive similar signage at a cost of $4.5 million. Funding is still being sought for the rest.