With the CTA scheduled to check today whether enough people are riding the evening Purple Line Express test run to justify continued service, Evanston city officials are encouraging residents to ride the rails tonight.

Executives from two downtown businesses — Acquirent and Leapfrong Online — will be leading delegations of their employees who live in Chicago to make the scheduled 8:05 p.m. departure from the Davis Street Purple Line station for the Loop.

And Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl and City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz will be there to greet riders at 7:55 p.m. and take the express run with them, returning as the train picks up late evening passengers from the Loop who live in Evanston.

The test of the new service, which started June 1, is scheduled to end July 10. CTA officials have said the cost of the test run is about $7,000 and that they’ll need to see at least an average of 468 round-trip riders on weekdays to continue offering it.

As a further incentive for people to take the late train this evening, Downtown Evanston is holding a Wine Walk with free wine samples at local shops.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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