New ground transportation center opens at O'Hare

City officials cut the ribbon Wednesday on a new ground transportation center at O’Hare.

The two-and-half-million square foot facility is supposed to make it easier to park and rent cars at O’Hare. It’s also supposed to encourage ride sharing and cut down on congestion.

O’Hare’s new ground transportation center is getting some good reviews from travelers who can now find all 13 car rental companies under one roof, along with easier access to METRA trains, buses and expanded public parking.

The rental car companies say customers will notice a big difference.

“Gone are the days of the traveling public dragging their suitcases and their families through the sleet, the rain and the snow on those days in Chicago when it isn't 70 degrees and sunny. Today everyone flying into O’Hare can go from the plane to the rental car completely covered from the elements and protected,” said Joshua Blum of Hertz Corp.

On Wednesday, most of the people getting to the new center from O’Hare were getting there by shuttle buses, because the city's people mover system is shut down for maintenance, Mondays through Fridays.

The people mover should be back to full time service by early Spring. The mayor used Wednesday’s event to tout an even bigger project, the $8.7-billion-dollar expansion of Terminal Two.

“It is going to be the only terminal in the United States that both American, United and their alliance partners will be at the same place. So you won't the way I see it, need a Fitbit to get around O’Hare,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.