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Officials bracing for busy transit day

March 15, 2012|By Leonor Vivanco, RedEye

Overcrowded trains and drunken commuters sound like a transportation nightmare.

In an effort to handle this year's St. Patrick's Dayhoopla, Metra is banning alcohol on trains, adding extra cars and beefing up staff and security, Metra spokeswoman Meg Reile said.

Many paradegoers and partiers make the trek from the suburbs by train to celebrate the holiday.

Officials reserve the right to prohibit overly intoxicated people from boarding.

"At any time, if a person is disrupting the operation of a train or disrupting in a way that disturbs other passengers or presents a potential danger, the conductor will try to mediate the situation. But if that's not possible, they will call police and have people removed from the train," Reile said.

The CTA will have longer trains to accommodate the paradegoers. The seven buses rerouted from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. due to street closures for the parade are No. 6 Jackson Park, No. 10 Museum of Science & Industry, No. 14 Jeffery Express, No. 124 Navy Pier, No. 126 Jackson, No. 146 Inner Drive/Michigan Express and No. 147 Outer Drive Express.

For those taking the Brown Line, brace yourself. Track maintenance work is scheduled from 4 a.m. Saturday until 7 p.m. Sunday between the Southport and Belmont stations. Buses will shuttle commuters in both directions to those stops.

There also will be free shuttle service in select neighborhoods, courtesy of the Miller Lite Free Rides program, from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday.

Route and schedule information are available at millerlitefreerides.com.

lvivanco@tribune.com | @lvivanco

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