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Hyde Park, Woodlawn, South Shore

CTA’s Abrupt Closure Leaves People Stranded Around City

"I have no idea how I'm going to get home," one man said.

The Division Street Blue Line CTA stop was locked Sunday, May 31, 2020, in Wicker Park.
Hannah Alani / Block Club Chicago
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HYDE PARK — The abrupt shutdown of all CTA trains and buses amid the unrest Sunday evening caught Chicagoans off-guard and stranded some people far from home.

The CTA announced the shutdown of all train and bus lines at 5:17 p.m. Sunday on Twitter, saying service would end at 6:30 p.m. Some lines had already stopped service because the city had blocked anyone from going Downtown in hopes of preventing a repeat of Saturday night’s Downtown destruction.

At 6:16 p.m., an emergency text alert went out on cell phones around the area, saying the 6:30 p.m. CTA shutdown would last until Monday morning. It also warned of the city’s 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, but noted that essential workers were exempt.

But the CTA closure left many of those essential workers no way to get home. Some people took to to social media to express outrage, saying they didn’t get enough notice to make it home.

In Hyde Park, a man named Sam who came to the neighborhood to play chess, said without the CTA, he was stranded on 53rd Street.

“I have no idea how I’m going to get home,” he said, borrowing a phone to make some calls and hoping to find a spot in a friend’s home nearby. “Figure it out tomorrow.”

Ald. Maria Hadden (49th) asked on her Facebook page “Is there anyone stranded because of the CTA shutdown?” That led to some 70 comments.

“I hope you are asking in part so that you can tell the mayor that it is unacceptable to trap protesters and essential workers by shutting down public transit,” wrote one woman.

Later Sunday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted the CTA would start providing service updates at 5 a.m. Monday.

Pace, the suburban public transit service, also announced it was suspending service as of 6:30 p.m.

Divvy, the bike-sharing service, also closed all stations at 4 p.m. Sunday. The service said it would “reopen as soon as possible” but did not give a time for when bikes would be available again.

Metra also cancelled train service going in and out of downtown Sunday afternoon. Later Sunday, officials announced the entire Metra system would be halted for all of Monday.

It is unclear when train service would resume.

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