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New changes to the Metra Union Pacific (UP) North Line schedule will negatively affect Evanston riders who board Metra trains in the morning at Central Street heading into Chicago, said Matt Swentkofske, Intergovernmental Affairs Coordinator of the City, in a memo to City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz.
Commuters who use Metra between 7:00-8:00 a.m. have lost two options during their morning commute. Existing “temporary” schedules, which began on Aug. 22, had four trains stopping during the seven o’clock hour. The trains picked up passengers at Central Street going into Chicago at 7:16, 7:22, 7:30, and 7:53 providing for a variety of times Evanston residents can board trains at Central Street and get to work.
The new schedule, which starts on Sept. 26, has only two trains stopping at Central Street; one at 7:22 and the other 7:27, said Mr. Swentkofske. This creates an enormous gap between 6:40 and 7:22 of 42 minutes and another 37 minute gap between 7:27 and 8:04. Fewer trains during the high time of rush hour will mean less choice for the residents and over crowded trains.
Metra riders who board the train at Central Street between the hours of 7:00 and 8:00 are urged to contact Metra at http://metrarail.com/metra/en/home/about_metra/contact_metra/email_metra.html or call (312) 322-6777 weekdays between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m to express their opinions to Metra about this change in schedule.
Mr. Bobkiewicz said, “The City of Evanston will be working to lobby Metra to make additional changes to its schedule.”