Metra received more than 4,300 responses to a survey posted to its website from February 21 through March 17, 2019. All responses were categorized and read by Metra and BNSF staff, and while not all requests could be accommodated, the results helped guide changes made to the BNSF weekday schedule.
The below describes changes made to the schedule in response to the survey results, and also describes some common responses that unfortunately could not be addressed in this schedule revision. To see a breakdown of results by survey question, please click here.
CHANGES MADE TO WEEKDAY SERVICE
Arrival time moved earlier by 5 minutes (5:19 a.m. to 5:14 a.m.)
After the June 11, 2018 schedule change, the arrival time for Train 1200 was changed from 5:32 a.m. to 5:20 a.m. After this change, Metra received feedback from customers stating that the new arrival did not allow for enough time to transfer to CTA bus services. This was reiterated after the spring survey by several comments requesting an earlier arrival time to meet the #151 bus, which departs Union Station at 5:18 a.m.
Departure time from Aurora changed from 5:54 a.m. to 5:57 a.m.
We received several comments noting the close departure times of express Trains 1208 and 1212 (9 minutes), which is followed by a larger gap of 30 minutes before 1222 departs. Train 1212 must depart early enough to become Train 1370 later in the rush hour; however, 1212 could be moved later slightly and still meet its later runs.
Added to fill a gap of service
Added train to add capacity to Trains 1226 and 1236
We received comments from riders of Trains 1224 and 1242 that they would like to see increased frequency of service. In addition, customers have noted that Trains 1226 and 1236 can be heavily used trains. To mitigate both concerns, a new train is being introduced during the peak of rush hour. This train makes the same stops as train 1216 and is intended to absorb some of the ridership from 1226 and 1236. Additionally, this train should have a positive effect on those who ride Trains 1224 and 1242. With Brookfield, Riverside and Berwyn (the busiest stations in the B zone) also included on Train 1374, this now gives those passengers using these stations another option. The new train came from taking cars from other Metra lines, and only a five-car train could be accommodated.
Added to speed up Train 1255
Added train to add capacity to Train 1255
Train 1255 has seen much feedback from customers since the schedule change last year. According to survey results, the top two issues for this train were to make it faster and to reduce crowding. To address these requests, a new train was added in the outbound peak to split Train 1255. Currently Train 1255 stops at every station from Brookfield to Fairview Avenue while also stopping at Berwyn and Riverside. With the new schedule, Train 1255 will stop at only Hinsdale through Fairview Ave, with the addition of Riverside and Brookfield. The new train, 1375, will stop from Congress Park to Highlands, with the addition of stops at Western Avenue and Berwyn. This change will allow for a faster trip for those traveling to Hinsdale through Fairview Avenue.
Added car to train in March 2019
Train 1251 saw the largest amount of comments in the survey, and the highest percentage of those were about crowding on the train. With that, and with recently released count data, Metra and the BNSF found an opportunity to add a car to the train by removing it from a train that was not as heavily used. The stop times were not changed in the new schedule, but the car addition was driven by feedback from the survey and other media.
FEEDBACK RECEIVED FROM SURVEY THAT WERE NOT ADDRESSED
Trains 1256, 1258, and 1370 arrive too close to 9 a.m.
Trains 1256 (8:59 a.m. arrival), 1258 (9:03 a.m. arrival), 1370 (9:07 a.m. arrival) were noted from customers of arriving to close to 9:00 a.m. which prevented them from reaching their employment before 9 a.m. Unfortunately, this was not able to be mitigated due to operational difficulties; specifically track occupation at Fairview Avenue and the amount of time necessary to complete Train 1256’s turn.
Return evening express trains to Naperville and Route 59 to their former stopping pattern
After ridership numbers were examined, it was determined that the new stopping pattern on the outbound express trains did a better job of evening out the loads than in the previous schedule. Several comments were also received in support of the new stopping pattern.
Adding more midday options
Under the current contract between Metra and BNSF Railway, the addition of midday trains is not allowed.
Highlands and West Hinsdale Service Gap
There currently exists a large gap at Highlands and West Hinsdale between Trains 1241 and 1255. Adding stations to Train 1245 was explored but was determined that adding extra stops would not allow for enough time for the train to flip for its inbound trip at Fairview Avenue.