Chicago Transit Board Approves Two New Bus Pilots Aimed at Improving West Side Transit Connections

January 15, 2020

UPDATE (4/14/2020): Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the planned pilots for the #52, #94 and #157 routes are now tentatively scheduled to go in effect in June 2020. Additional details will be provided in the coming weeks. 

CTA to realign its #52 and #94 routes, as well as extend the #157 route to provide more efficient service and improved transit connections

The Chicago Transit Board today approved two new bus pilots that will help further improve transit connections for several neighborhoods on the City’s West Side. These pilots continue CTA’s ongoing commitment to improve bus services, and complements Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Invest South/West community improvement initiative, which seeks to align government, community and corporate resources towards investing in 10 neighborhoods on the City’s South and West sides.

“Even comparatively small changes to our bus routes can have a positive impact on overall transit service throughout Chicago,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “By making these small changes we are creating new and much-needed transit connections that will help thousands of riders get to their destinations in a more reliable and efficient manner, while also help foster continued growth in these West Side communities.”

In mid-April 2020, CTA will implement the following improvements as part of a one-year pilot. During this time, CTA staff will monitor and assess ridership and customer feedback before making a recommendation to the Board on whether to conclude or make the services permanent:

#52 Kedzie/California & #94 South California Realignment

CTA will rename and realign the adjacent #52 Kedzie/California and #94 South California bus routes to provide riders with more streamlined service along Chicago’s street grid system, while also improving connections to the Green Line.

Beginning with the start of service on Sunday, April 19, the new #52 Kedzie route will only operate between 63rd/Kedzie and Chicago/Sacramento via Kedzie Avenue. 

All bus stops along California between Chicago and Addison previously served by the #52 route will now be served by the new #94 California route, which will operate between 74th/Damen to Addison/Rockwell via California Avenue.

The #52 and #94 routes will continue operating with the same approximate frequency on weekdays and weekends. 

#157 Streeterville/Taylor Extension

Beginning with the start of service on Monday, April 20, 2020, CTA will extend the #157 route west of Ogden/California to the Pulaski Pink Line station. Currently the #157 operates between Chestnut Street/Lake Shore Drive and Ogden/California avenues.

By extending the route west, the #157 route will make direct 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.

For riders, this means 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.

The #52/#94 realignment pilot is cost-neutral. The extension of the #157 route will cost approximately $550,000 for the full-year and will be funded with CTA operating dollars.

These pilots are the latest in a series of bus service enhancements implemented under the leadership of CTA President Carter to further strengthen transit system connections and improve service reliability. Recent bus service projects include: reinstatement of Ashland and Western express routes; expanded bus service on several South Side/Far South Side routes; launch of Loop Link; construction of the Union Station Transit Center; launch of the Bus Priority Zones Program with CDOT; plus, the piloting of new services on the #11 Lincoln, #39 Pershing and #31 31st routes.

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