Commuters on O'Hare-bound CTA Blue Line train. (Chicago Tribune…
Expect more crowds than usual this weekend at the CTA Blue and Orange line airport stations--but Memorial Day isn't the busiest CTA day of the year.
Friday is historically the highest ridership day of Memorial Day weekend at the O'Hare Blue Line and Midway Orange Line stations, a RedEye analysis of daily CTA ridership found.
Last year, the O'Hare stop saw 13,090 entries on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend compared to 12,116 entries on the actual holiday. The Friday total put that day in the top 40 of most entries at the O'Hare station in the last 12 years, according to CTA data.
This year, some visitors may be paying more for their ride from the O'Hare station than they did in years past. Since January, riders without unlimited passes or Chicago Cards have paid $5 for Blue Line trips from O'Hare instead of $2.25, the systemwide cost for a rail trip. The CTA enacted that fare as part of pass price increases to balance the budget.
Compared to O'Hare, Midway sees far fewer riders Memorial Day weekend. There were 10,158 entries at the Midway stop on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend last year compared to 5,601 entries on the actual holiday.
Though these numbers are high, there are other days that see more riders than Memorial Day.
The O'Hare station saw the most entries in the last 12 years on Oct. 5, two days before the 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. The station recorded 16,175 entries that day.
The Sunday after Thanksgiving last year (13,710) also saw more O'Hare riders than the Friday of Memorial Day weekend.
Historically, the Fourth of July weekend has been the biggest weekend for the Midway station. The most entries at that Orange Line stop in last 12 years were July 3 in 2008, 2007, 2003 and 2002, respectively.
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