February 9, 2005

Continuing to identify and refine service to best meet the needs of Chicago Transit Authority customers, the Chicago Transit Board today addressed recommendations on three bus routes operating as experimental service. The Board extended experimental service on two of the routes and eliminated the third.

#X80 Irving Park ExpressThe Board approved a second 180-day experiment on the #X80 Irving Park Express bus route which offers midday and weekend service along Irving Park between the lakefront and the Irving Park Blue Line station. The second 180-day experiment will adjust Saturday hours to 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. instead of 6 a.m. until 3 p.m. and provide more time to evaluate the route. The first 180-day experiment began on August 29, 2004.

The #X80 provides fast service along Irving Park Road, a major east-west traffic corridor, and provides convenient connections to CTA rail stations on the Red, Brown and Blue Lines along Irving Park Road.

A $750,000 grant from the Federal Highway Administration secured by Fifth District Congressman Rahm Emanuel funded both of the midday and weekend experimental periods.

#40 Chinatown/Pilsen ShuttleThe Board approved a second season of operation for the #40 Chinatown/Pilsen Shuttle, operating weekend and holiday service to several popular attractions in the South Loop and on the West Side. The free shuttle will begin Saturday, May 28 and operate through the summer months. The service originally was implemented as a 180-day experiment last summer and carried nearly 20,000 customers.

The Chinatown Chamber of Commerce and the Pilsen Little Village Information Center subsidize the service, along with a federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant that funds projects geared to help attract customers to public transit. Routing and times of operation are still being finalized.

The shuttle service helps to support some of Chicago?'s most popular attractions which draw large crowds during the busy summer months. In addition, continuing this shuttle service helps to meet the demand for public transit in the Pilsen and Chinatown communities by complementing local service for customers wanting to make connections to attractions along the route.

#X99 Chicago Manufacturing Campus ExpressThe Board also voted to eliminate the #X99 Chicago Manufacturing Campus Express route due to low ridership. The route would have needed more than 600 customers per day to sustain the service and actual ridership fell far below that number.

The route began as a 180-day experiment in May 2004 serving a manufacturing campus on the Southeast Side. The #X99 route operates between the 95th/Dan Ryan station on the Red Line and the Chicago Manufacturing Campus (CMC) at 126th/Avenue O, making limited stops and bus connections between the station and the campus. When the route was implemented CTA expected service to match the shifts of the 12 companies comprising the campus, but shift schedules are flexible and some of the companies are shutting down early or operating later depending on production demands. Elimination of the #X99 route is scheduled for Sunday, March 27.

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