May 16 2008

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The long, slow ride to Chicago O’Hare

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CtaimageBy Thurston Hatcher

Most of the time, it’s incredibly easy to take public transportation
between Chicago’s airports and downtown Chicago hotels, homes and
businesses.

But work on the Chicago Transit Authority’s Blue Line, connecting
O’Hare International Airport to downtown Chicago, is making that commute
a little more challenging.

Due to ongoing construction work, the CTA says Blue Line service will
be interrupted between at least two stations — between the Addison and
O’Hare stops — on most weekends and some weeknight throughout the summer.

A free CTA shuttle bus connects the stations when service is disrupted,
but getting off the train, on the bus and back on the train can add
another 30 minutes each way to the commute (which normally averages
about 45 minutes without disruptions).

The good news is that the work — scheduled for completing next fall — is designed to get rid of so-called "slow zones" and improve commuting times to and from O’Hare.

Here are a few suggestions for avoiding or coping with the disruptions on your Chicago vacation:

  • If you’re heading to O’Hare, take the Blue Line part of the way and
    catch a cab once you arrive at the last stop before you have to get on
    the shuttle. You’ll save time and it won’t cost nearly as much as a cab
    ride all the way from downtown.
  • Take a Metra commuter train to or from the Jefferson Park station, which it shares with the Blue Line. It’s only four stops from O’Hare.
  • Consider flying into or out of Chicago’s Midway Airport instead.
    It’s actually closer to downtown, it’s connected by the CTA’s Orange
    Line, and as an added bonus, flights are less prone to delays.
  • Check out the Transit Authority Web site for updates on service disruptions.
  • Book on Orbitz, and we’ll send you an e-mail alert to let you know about Blue Line disruptions and other news that might affect your travel plans.
  • Just relax, pack light (so you won’t have to lug a giant suitcase on
    and off the shuttle bus), give yourself lots of extra travel time, and
    try to enjoy the ride.

Related Orbitz resources:

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