Service enhancements made permanent following year-long analysis
The Chicago Transit Board today approved a plan to begin permanently offering bus service on the west end of the #35 31st/35th bus route after a year-long service trial, and the addition of new service on that route to the 31st Street Beach during the summer months. These changes in service will improve public transit options and connections for customers on the city’s South and Southwest sides.
“We’re pleased to be able to make these route changes permanent for the benefit of CTA customers by providing greater access to work, businesses and Chicago’s lakefront parks and beaches,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool. “In addition, customers now have additional transit travel options requiring fewer connecting trips, which results in improved travel times.”
Since September 2012, the CTA has been operating experimental service that included extending service on the #35 route west along 31st Street between Kedzie and Cicero avenues. This experimental service was implemented based on increased potential ridership demand in the corridor and the improved connections it would create for customers to access CTA’s Red, Green and Orange lines; other CTA or Pace bus routes; and Metra’s Cicero station.
Service along the route extension will continue to be provided seven days a week, between the hours of 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. and at a frequency of 10-20 minutes, depending on the time of day. Hours of service along the #35 route east of Kedzie will remain the same, from approximately 4 a.m. until 12:30 a.m. seven days a week.
The Board originally approved offering trial service last fall for six months and in April extended the experimental service another six months to allow the CTA more time to study ridership trends on the route before making the route extension permanent. As part of that April decision, the CTA also said it would study the feasibility of extending service east to the lakefront at 31st Street.
Based on a comprehensive study of census and ridership data, the CTA determined there was not enough demand to support a new route on 31st Street east of Ashland and Archer, but the CTA will provide new weekend and holiday bus service to the 31st Street Beach via the #35 bus route beginning next summer between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Select #35 buses will operate to the beach and hours of beach service will be approximately 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on weekends and holidays.
Federal funds from a Job Access Reverse Commute (JARC) grant will be used to help support operational costs of the route extension, which is estimated to cost approximately $1.2 million annually. The extension of service to the 31st Street Beach will be approximately $24,000 annually.
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See also: 31st Street Corridor Analysis Report (.pdf)