Metra looking into changes to proposed Metra Electric schedule

By Blaise Mesa, Executive Producer

Electric will have to change its train schedule to accommodate the federally-mandated installation of Positive Train Control, or PTC. But Metra has already received complaints from some riders causing the company to look into tweaking the proposed schedule, said Micheal Gillis, spokesperson for Metra.

Elizabeth Davis-Berg, a professor in the Science and Mathematics Department, has seen posts on social media where riders suggest the proposed schedule changes could cost them an additional $200 a month in child care because they get home later.

“If you can’t take one of the new express trains, it’s going to cost you more time,” said Davis-Berg, a parent who takes the Metra Electric line.

Gillis said Metra tried to keep the proposed schedule as close to the current schedule as possible. Metra also posted a survey on its website for riders’ feedback, which closes Friday, March 6.

Metra has installed PTC, an emergency braking system for trains, on eight of its 11 train lines and needs to install the system on its remaining three lines by the end of this year, Gillis said.

According to Gillis, the system monitors a train’s speed by using GPS technology. For example, if a train is going too quickly into a curve, the PTC system will alert the conductor to slow down the train, or the system will bring the train to complete stop to avoid an accident.

Even if the proposed schedule goes into place, it is still subject to change, Gillis said.

“We will be looking for opportunities to [adjust the schedule],” Gillis said.

For additional reporting on Metra Electric’s proposed schedule changes—and to hear about Bobbi Wilsyn’s 40 years at Columbia—listen to the Wednesday, March 4 episode of “Chronicle Headlines” on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.