Metra wants riders to know they hear their concerns and they’re working to fix the problems.
“We’ve heard many concerns last year and we agree with those concerns,” said Metra CEO Don Orseno.
Concerns about overcrowding in the event of a Metra delay, particularly in Union Station’s South Concourse, were among some of the many complaints officials fielded from riders.
On Friday, the transit agency explained a new plan designed to alleviate some of the overcrowding and gave an update on how well the plan has worked in tested situations.
“It’s being viewed as a very positive experience, but we haven’t had, thank God, a major service disruption to really implement it,” Orseno said.
The plan was tested earlier this month when pipes burst at Union Station, causing passengers and trains to be re-routed.
“We implemented part of that plan, it seemed to go very well,” Orseno said.
The plan would turn off the escalators leading to the South Concourse and create a passenger staging area that can stretch back to tickets, or even the Great Hall.
“If they feel like they have to re-route people a little different to get them on, I don’t see why that would be a problem,” said rider Gina Rossi.
But not all riders were optimistic.
“I bring my baby down here for backup daycare when my daycare is closed,” said rider Tanika Mack. “It is even more unsafe when they do that because I have her, I have her stroller and when it’s crowded like that it’s not safe.”
Orseno says the plan should become easier for riders over time, but he says the real solution would be a major remodel of Union Station.
“Our real goal is to eventually have a Union Station that is much more conducive to the traffic flow that we have with the small corridors, but that is going to take some large capital dollars,” Orseno said.