Metra Electric

Commuters crowd the 51st-53rd Hyde Park Metra station during evening rush hour on Feb. 14. 

Metra began operating alternate weekday schedules on Monday, March 23, on all but one line to adjust for the reduced number of riders due to the coronavirus epidemic.

Where able, the same number of cars will be kept on trains to allow for social distancing.

“This is an unprecedented situation; we are attempting to do our best to provide service for those who still need public transportation and match service with demand,” said Metra CEO and Executive Director Jim Derwinski in a statement.

Metra will run 44 inbound services from the three stations in Hyde Park — 59th St., 55th-56th-57th St. and 51st/53rd St. — and 36 from the 47th St. station, if commuters are present.

Forty-three outbound services will run from the Hyde Park stations and, if passengers are present, 36 from the Kenwood station.

The updated schedule is available online.

On March 18, Metra acknowledged a "sharp drop in ridership" and encouraged commuters to use the free Ventra app to purchase all tickets in order to minimize contact with onboard personnel. Extra crews have been brought in to assist with daily cleaning and disinfecting cars and locomotives, downtown stations and Metra-maintained outlying stations.

The commuter rail operator is monitoring ridership and may further reduce services to meet ridership demands. Regular weekend schedules will be kept this weekend.

“We never take a reduction in service lightly, but we are using this as an opportunity to provide passengers with even safer conditions,” Derwinski said. “It is our intent to continue to provide train service unless instructed not to do so.”

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