South branch of Red Line reopens after major overhaul

South branch of Red Line reopens after major overhaul

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The CTA reopened the south branch of the Red Line early Sunday — the culmination of a 5-month construction project —while most of its 80,000 daily riders were sound asleep.

While most riders took advantage of free shuttle bus service during the five month closure of the Red Line, Deja Johnson says she spent hundreds of dollars on taxi service.

"I spent about twenty bucks… no like thirty bucks a day… Yes, thirty dollars a day plus," said Johnson.

Johnson says she called a cab for door to door service to and from work, school and errands during the Red Line reconstruction project.

"I didn't consider the shuttles to be as convenient as they were expected to be," said Johnson.

So for Johnson and others, the Red Line reopening is a welcome change.

"I'm excited to try it out and see how it works," said Robert Crouch.

"Faster, smoother and better service," the CTA touts a daily round trip commute that is up to twenty minutes faster between 95th and downtown - an added bonus for Robert Crouch and the Red Line's 80,000 riders.

"In the morning I'm planning on taking the Red Line to the office so I'm really happy this station is open again," said Crouch.

But what took so long - that's what photography student Sam Belden wants to know.

"I thought it took a really long seemed like it took too long," said Belden.

It turns out the 425-million dollar project finished ahead of schedule.

The rebuild included workers replacing old tracks with new ones - the first overhaul of its kind in more than four decades. Another first? No more slow zones.

"I think it's fabulous. It's actually running like way smoother than it was at first and it's really efficient… Whoever fixed it, I want to personally thank you, it's awesome," said Johnson.

On Monday, the bulk of Red Line riders will experience what Johnson and lawmakers are boasting about - a new & improved ride around town.

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