Ashland & Western Bus Improvements

Ashland & Western Bus Improvements


Beginning December 2015, we launched a three-phased project aimed at improving both travel speeds and service reliability along two of the busiest bus routes in the city – the #9 Ashland and #49 Western.

Providing more than 55,600 CTA rides combined, these two critical north/south routes were often delayed due to traffic congestion and close stop spacing. They were also affected by slow bus speeds, leading to consistent bus bunching and big gaps in service.

Learn more:

Ashland & Western Improvements: Overview Presentation
Ashland & Western Bus Improvements Brochure (English, en español)

Route information:


How Service Was Improved

We know that bus riders expect fast and reliable service. In order to create immediate improvements to the level and quality of service along both the Ashland and Western corridors, we took the following steps towards improving #9 and #49 service:

#X9 Ashland Express &
#X49 Western Express
resumption countdown:
...until service begins!

Reintroduced the #X9 Ashland Express and #X49 Western Express bus routes, which currently runs during the morning and afternoon rush periods. This reduces travel times for passengers on these heavily traveled corridors. Express buses now make stops roughly every half-mile and at all bus and rail transfer points.

  • Estimated time savings: up to 17 minutes on trips along each route
  • Started December 21, 2015

Optimized bus stop spacing on the local routes by removing some of the least-used stops. This will allow buses to travel faster by reducing the time buses spend frequently merging in and out of traffic while still providing convenient access along both corridors. Once implemented, up to 85% of all trips on Ashland and Western became unaffected by bus stop relocations, while all trips benefited from faster service. Feedback provided by the public will be taken into consideration for route stops

  • Estimated time savings: up to 7.5 minutes for customers using local bus service
  • Began December 2015

Transit Signal Priority (TSP) upgrades made it possible for buses running behind schedule to communicate with traffic signals along each corridor and either hold green lights longer or shorten red lights. TSP installation work was spearheaded by the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA).

  • Estimated time savings: up to 5 additional minutes along each corridor
  • Implemented:
    • Spring 2016: Ashland from Cermak to 95th Street
    • End of 2016: Western from Howard to 79th Street
    • End of 2017: Ashland from Cermak to Irving Park Road


Ashland & Western bus stop changes

The map (click link to view map) highlights the locations of express route stops and all changes made to bus stop locations along both corridors to improve local bus service. To see how your trips along Western and Ashland are affected, enter any address into the search box on the map. The CTA determined bus stop changes based on feedback from customers, residents, business owners, local elected and community officials and others affected by the Ashland & Western Improvements project.



View map

  • Yellow: Updated stop served by both express and local services
  • Black: Local service stop was maintained
  • White: Local service stop was discontinued


#9/#X9 Ashland Bus Stop & Service Changes (text version)
#49/#X49 Western Bus Stop & Service Changes (text version)






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