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MORE:Dispelling 5 myths about roofing20 Killed As Attack Ends Filipino SiegePain relievers: What are the differences? The transit agency reduces the number of cars in trains during off-peak hours to save money. So why does the CTA operate four-car trains when passenger demand would seem to call for at least six-car trains?"We aren't getting eight cars when we need them during the middle of the day," Brown Line rider David Dalka said.It has been more than three years since the CTA completed the $530 million Brown Line capacity-expansion project that extended platforms to accommodate up to eight-car trains, replacing a six-car maximum. The project was aimed at improving service and customer comfort by easing crowded conditions.Retired banker Jim Perry gets on a four-car CTA Brown Line train shortly after noon several times a week, and he often can't get a seat because of crowding, he said.

Perry, a numbers guy, said he would love to understand the cost analysis that's behind the game of musical chairs the CTA plays with the number of cars hooked up to a train, and hours later decoupled and then again recoupled to match the swings in ridership over each 24-hour cycle."What is the cost benefit of keeping an eight-car train versus the manpower and energy costs of removing four cars after the morning and evening rushes?" Perry said. It seems that there should be some cost-savings with keeping the eight-car trains the majority of the day."Several hundred dollars are spent or saved by adding or eliminating two or four 3200 Series cars per run on the Brown Line, which is the city's fastest-growing rail route, the CTA said.
This year the Brown Line is projected to operate 114,000 round trips, officials said.Systemwide, the CTA said it saves several million dollars annually by varying the length of trains over the course of the day. They cautioned against making comparisons based on the number of riders per car and the fares collected, even though a rough calculation would suggest there is adequate passenger revenue during some heavy ridership off-peak periods to cover much of the cost for longer trains.

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