The shuttle train that connects O’Hare Airport’s terminals, the People Mover, will be closed from early 2019 through the fall as crews work to finish “the ongoing modernization and extension of the airport transit system.”
The Chicago Department of Aviation announced Monday that the People Mover would move its last person as of 5 a.m. on Jan. 9. The CDA said the upgrades to the 25-year-old system will include a new fleet of larger shuttle cars, withthe track also being extended by 2,000 feet. The department expects the upgrades to the People Mover — which carries 30,000 people per day — to be completed by next fall.
In the meantime, the CDA will operate a shuttle bus service that will take passengers to and from the airport terminals via a new bus lane, the CDA said.
“When complete, the new system will move passengers conveniently between the terminals, economy parking lots and the new O’Hare Multi Modal Facility in nine minutes or less,” the CDA said in a statement. The Multi Modal Facility opened in October and directs drivers “to one central location, improving access to the terminal roadways,” according to the CDA.
The shuttle train’s closure is expected to worsen vehicle traffic around the airport’s terminal roadways, and the CDA is encouraging fliers to take the CTA Blue Line to and from the airport if possible.
In late 2011, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration gave a no-bid, five-year deal for $115 million to AOR Transit Joint Venture to operate and maintain O’Hare Airport’s in-house transit system.
The Sun-Times previously reported that AOR is still on the job after being handed more duties, without competitive bidding, that have helped bring it an extra $58 million, records show.
AOR was formed in the 1990s and, under prior deals, has overseen the People Mover since 1994, soon after the system was built. In the decade before the Emanuel administration gave AOR a new contract, the venture was paid more than $164 million.