CTA to test evening Purple Line Express

Tori Latham, Assistant City Editor

The Chicago Transit Authority will test an evening Purple Line Express train in June, Evanston officials said.

The additional express train will encourage those who live and work in Evanston to take advantage of the amenities the city has to offer, said Ylda Capriccioso, Evanston’s intergovernmental affairs coordinator.

The six-week pilot program will take place from June 1 to July 10 and add one extra train that will run from Wilmette to the Loop and back again. The train will leave the Linden stop at 8 p.m., arrive at the Clark/Lake stop at 8:50 p.m. and return back to Linden by 9:52 p.m. 

“The business community and people who work in Evanston are always trying to rush back home to eat or work out,” Capriccioso said. “This will allow them to meet up with their coworkers after work or take advantage of the social activities in the city.”

Many employees were not sticking around after work because they needed to catch the Purple Line Express, which has its last train leaving the Davis Street stop at 6:37 p.m., said Johanna Nyden, Evanston’s economic development division manager.

“There is value in spending time and energy to keep people around,” Nyden said. “It benefits two ends of the spectrum because it helps not just the people here, but also residents who need to get home from work.”

Nyden emphasized the fact that the later train would be valuable to those who work both traditional 9-to-5 jobs and those with more lenient hours.

“There are two types of people,” she said. “Those who get out at 5 and could go out to drinks or dinner and not have to rush through anymore and those who maybe start work at 10 and don’t leave until 6 or 7. This would benefit both of them.”

The CTA will consider the program a success if an average of 468 people ride the train per night or there are 39 people per car on the six-car train, Nyden said.

Capriccioso said she was unsure if the program will continue after the trial run but hopes it will benefit commuters regardless.

“Our main goals are to increase the livability and sustainability of the city (Evanston),” she said. “We want to make sure we provide all the possible choices people need and want.”

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