Chicago Transit Board Approves Extension of Three Bus Pilots

May 12, 2021

CTA to continue bus pilots that extend the #31 and #157 routes, and realign the #52 and #94 routes along Kedzie and California avenues

The Chicago Transit Board today approved extending three bus pilots aimed at improving transit connections and streamlining service on Chicago’s West and South sides beginning June 2021. This one-year extension of all three pilots will allow the agency to continue studying ridership on the routes as the city begins to emerge from the pandemic and customers re-establish or develop new ridership habits.

“We recognize that the pandemic caused hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans to change their daily routines, which also skewed vital data needed to determine next steps for these routes,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “By extending these bus pilots, we will be able to more accurately assess how these service changes are received by our customers and the value these bus service enhancements provide to our network of bus and rail services.”

As these bus pilots continue, CTA staff will monitor and assess ridership and customer feedback before making recommendations to the Board on whether to conclude, modify or make these service changes permanent:

#31 Route Extension

Service along the #31 31st route is currently provided Monday through Friday between 6:30 a.m. and 7 p.m., approximately every 30 minutes, between the Lake Meadows Shopping Center (at 33rd Place and Martin Luther King Drive) and the Ashland Orange Line Station.

The #31 route has been operating on an experimental basis since September 2016. Before the pandemic, the route was seeing promising ridership after service hours were expanded to include service during the AM rush period beginning in fall 2019.

#52 & #94 realignment on Kedzie and California avenues

To provide riders with more streamlined service along Chicago’s street grid system, as well as improving connections to the Green Line, the CTA realigned the #52 Kedzie and #94 California bus routes.

Under this pilot, which began in June 2020, the CTA established one route serving California Avenue between 74th/Damen to Addison/Rockwell, and one route serving Kedzie Avenue between 63rd/Kedzie and Chicago/Sacramento. Whereas previously one route covered both Kedzie and California and the other route covered only a portion of California. The alignment also provided customers on the near northwest side a more clear and efficient connection to the California Green Line station.

#157 Streeterville/Taylor Route Extension

Last summer, the #157 Streeterville/Taylor route was extended west of Ogden/California to the Pink Line station to help create direct transit connections with the #21 Cermak, #52 Kedzie, #53 Pulaski and #82 Kimball/Homan bus routes, as well as the Pulaski and Central Park Pink Line stations.

As a result of this extension, customers have improved access to jobs, healthcare, schools and other services, including the Illinois Medical District (IMD), University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), Mt. Sinai Hospital medical campus, Cinespace Chicago Film Studios and the Lawndale Christian Health Center.

Costs associated with operation of the #31 and #157 pilots over the next year are approximately $1.1 million and funded with CTA operating dollars. The realignment of the #52 Kedzie and #94 California routes are cost-neutral.

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