Service Resumes After Massive Crowds Flood Busses, Streets Due to CTA Woes

Massive crowds of Chicago Transit Authority riders were forced out into city streets trying to board busses or find alternate transportation as a police investigation halted several lines at the Fullerton stop for hours Tuesday morning. 

Emergency crews were called to the station about 6:30 a.m. to recover the body of a man, thought to be in his 20s, on the tracks, said Chicago Fire Department Chief Juan Hernandez. It was not clear whether the man was struck by a train.

The train stoppage led to packed bus stops, angry tweets and a lot of frustrated commuters.

Trains were stopping at the Belmont CTA station, where commuters could board free shuttles. As commuters packed the area under the station and waited to board those buses, the situation grew tense at times. CTA employees were having trouble controlling the crowd.

Passenger Cookie Jackson tried to corral the crowd so the extra shuttles could get through at the Belmont stop. She said she had worked a 12-hour shift last night, and had been waiting for an hour to get a bus to 55th Street.

“All I wanna do is get home,” she said. “I’ve been standing here too long.”

As commuters packed the area under the station and waited to board those buses, the situation grew tense at times. CTA employees were having trouble controlling the crowd.

At the Fullerton stop, the situation was similar, as commuters arrived to find shuttles to the North and Clybourn Red Line station offered in place of southbound trains.

“This is a disaster waiting to happen,” one passenger said. Another shouted, “F— no” and “I’m gonna Facebook live this.”

“I’m so annoyed because I’m gonna be late for work,” said Jenn Rotblatt, 25, of Lincoln Park, who works in digital advertising. “It’s scary though that there’s a body on the tracks.”

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“Everyone’s trying to get a ride,” said one passenger who noted that Halsted buses were all full to the brim.

A train operator told one commuter the delay could last hours. North of downtown, the Brown, Red and Purple lines had a combined average daily ridership of nearly 203,000 in 2016, according to the CTA.

Before arriving at Belmont, some Red Line commuters had begun to call friends and colleagues to tell them they were going to be late. A few people trickled off at every stop, as a CTA conductor announced a vague update on the delays: “We don’t know how long this train will be standing.”

Cassandra Tulipano said she thought she caught the early train this morning — but instead, she was going to be late for a 9 a.m. meeting downtown.

“But it’s not my first rodeo,” she said. “CTA knows how to handle this.”

She said a friend called her this morning from the Fullerton stop, warning her not to get on the train, but it was too late.

One commuter on the Red Line was getting visibly upset while the train made a 10-minute stop at Addison, telling passengers: “I don’t how to get to school. I don’t know any other way to get to school.”

A Metra spokesman said its service was not affected and there were no plans to honor CTA fares on Metra trains.

As of 8:15 a.m., Brown Line service was suspended between the Belmont and Merchandise Mart stations, according to the CTA. Red Line service was temporarily suspended between the Belmont and North/Clybourn stations. Purple Line trains were only operating from Linden to Howard.

By 9:30 a.m., train service was resuming, though delays were still expected.

Many took to social media to show the scene. 

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