Travel Advisory: With O'Hare People Mover Closing for Most of 2019, Travelers Encouraged to Plan Ahead and Take the Blue Line

December 31, 2018

CDA reminds traveling public that ATS will be closed for modernization; joins CTA in encouraging passengers to save time in getting to and from O’Hare by taking the Blue Line

 CHICAGO—The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) today reminded passengers that the Airport Transit System (ATS), otherwise known as the people mover, at O’Hare International Airport will be completely shut down starting January 8, 2019, at 5 a.m. The system will be closed as part of the ongoing modernization and extension of the airport train system, which is anticipated for completion by Fall 2019.

The temporary closure of the ATS will create additional traffic around the terminal roadways at O’Hare. To help travelers plan ahead and cut down on travel time to and from O’Hare, the CDA is partnering with the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) to promote the Blue Line travel option available at the airport and throughout the City. 

“The CDA is building a new and improved ATS that will benefit O'Hare travelers moving between the terminals, economy parking lots and the new Multi Modal Facility,” said CDA Commissioner Jamie L. Rhee. “In the meantime, we recognize that construction on the new ATS may inconvenience passengers, and so we are urging them to plan ahead and consider alternative travel options to avoid extra traffic. Working with the CTA and our airport partners, we are encouraging travelers to choose the Blue Line to save time as we work to elevate the travel experience from O’Hare.”

The CTA’s Blue Line provides travelers a reliable, accessible and affordable ride from O’Hare to the downtown area, and many neighborhoods and communities.

 Trains run, on average, every 5-10 minutes throughout the day. Passengers starting their journey outside of the Blue Line can also take advantage of the reliable access to and from the O’Hare terminal core by getting dropped off at either the Rosemont or Cumberland Blue Line station kiss and ride lots. These Blue Line stations connect travelers to O’Hare in five minutes, on average.

 “The City of Chicago is fortunate to have a reliable and affordable public transportation system,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter. “As O’Hare continues to modernize its infrastructure, we encourage passengers heading to or from the airport to choose the CTA Blue Line to avoid traffic. Because it consistently takes only 45 minutes to travel between O’Hare and downtown on the Blue Line, it’s one of the fastest travel options, especially during rush hours.”

With rides from O’Hare costing $5, there is no cheaper way than the Blue Line to get downtown. To purchase fares, riders can use their Ventra card, contactless debit or credit card, or pay via one of the following mobile wallet apps: Apply Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and Fitbit Pay.

 Travelers should be advised of and plan ahead for ATS closures during peak travel times, including occurring Thursday, Friday and Sunday evenings, when the airport receives a high volume of inbound flights.

The CDA is upgrading the ATS to enable an expanded and more modern system suited to serve a modern O’Hare. Upgrades to the 25-year-old system include a larger new fleet of cars, which will double the capacity of the current system. 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 has undertaken a series of capital programs designed to alleviate traffic in and around the airport, including the new Multi Modal Facility, opened in October, which will direct ground motor transit to one central location, improving access to the terminal roadways. The CDA has also launched a dedicated shuttle service to serve travelers quickly and efficiently while the ATS is being modernized. To minimize congestion caused by additional buses on the roadways, the CDA has created a dedicated bus lane.

 As part of its $8.5 billion expansion program, O’Hare will also undertake several improvements to terminal roadways and bridges, ensuring capacity to serve a larger terminal footprint in the years ahead.

For more information on the ATS project and transportation options available for getting to O’Hare, please visit

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