December 21, 2002


The Chicago Transit Authority announced today that thousands of CTA bus and rail customers will experience improved service on thirteen bus routes and two rail lines as a result of service changes approved by the Chicago Transit Board in October. Improvements begin December 22, and are designed to provide better connection with other service and greater convenience.

Standing in the heart of the Illinois Medical District (IMD), President Frank Kruesi and 22nd Ward Aldermen Ricardo Munoz, along with members of the CTA's Blue Line Transit Task Force and Blue Line Advisory Panel gathered in Pasteur Park on Harrison Street. The group was on hand specifically to announce a new improved X21 Cermak bus route that will bring faster, more direct access to the IMD and the Loop to west side communities including North Lawndale, Pilsen, Little Village and the town of Cicero.

CTA's Blue Line Transit Task Force and Advisory Panel represent North Lawndale, Pilsen, Little Village and Cicero and participate in public transit issues important to their communities. Suggestions from the organizations served as a catalyst for the X21 Cermak improvements.

"These individuals standing here today have asked the CTA for weekend service that will give access to people from their communities to downtown and to the medical centers in this district," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?This is an example of responsiveness to the community tied with technical analysis of population and commuter patterns and, in the end, effective solutions for our customers that make good business sense."

All service improvements announced today meet guidelines set by the CTA's service standards, which use specific measures to determine how services are designed. These measures include the hours and days a route operates, the frequency of service, the distance an average customer travels to reach a bus stop or 'L' station, the level of ridership at the busiest location along the route and the number of customers a CTA vehicle carries per hour.

Since November 1998, CTA has made service improvements on 50 percent of its bus routes (72 out of 143 total routes) and on all of its rail routes. A total of 170 improvements have been implemented. This includes 13 new bus routes, expanded hours of service, added trips to reduce wait time, and route changes to improve access and connectivity. The greatest number of improvements has been to add trips to improve the frequency of CTA buses and trains. The new routing will provide faster service to the Loop and to hospitals and medical centers in the IMD where an abundance of jobs and educational institutions are available to serve the members of the west side communities.

The route modification also provides extended hours of operation making it convenient for those taking the bus to and from work or classes.

The #X21 Cermak Express will operate between North Riverside Mall and the Loop under a 180-day experimental program via Cermak, Marshall, Ogden, Polk, Ashland, the Eisenhower Expressway and Dearborn to the Jackson/Dearborn Blue Line station. On outbound trips from Jackson/Dearborn, #X21 buses will make their final stop downtown southbound on Clark at Van Buren before entering the Eisenhower Expressway for express trips to Ashland, where they will follow the same routing in reverse of inbound service. Stops that #X21 Cermak Express buses have been making on Cermak east of Kedzie will continue to be served by #21 Cermak local buses.

In addition to the #X21, CTA will begin changes on 12 other bus routes starting Sunday, December 22 for routes that operate daily and/or on weekends, and on Monday, December 23, for routes that operate only on weekdays. Changes to two 'L' lines will take effect on December 29.

CTA Service ChangesDecember 2002

#N4 Cottage Grove owl service will be extended from 59th to 63rd to connect with all-night service on the #N63 63rd route, effective Sunday, December 22.

#7 Harrison buses will operate east via Harrison and Canal to Jackson and west via Adams and Clinton to Harrison to better serve Union Station and the Greyhound bus terminal, starting Monday, December 23.

The #18 16th/18th route will connect on the west with the Blue Line at Cicero/Cermak and on the east with the Red Line at Cermak/Chinatown as part of a six-month experimental program, effective Sunday, December 22.

#X21 Cermak Express will operate between North Riverside Mall and the Loop under a 180-day experimental program that will include longer hours of service and stops at medical centers along the route, starting Sunday, December 22.

#44 Wallace/Racine buses will end their northbound trips at the Halsted Orange Line station daily, beginning Sunday, December 22. #44 buses currently serve the Halsted Orange Line station on weekdays and the Cermak-Chinatown Red Line station on weekends.

#60 Blue Island/26th buses will operate east through downtown via Harrison Canal and Washington and west via Madison and Clinton to Harrison to provide better connections between the UIC Campus and both Union Station and the Ogilvie Transportation Center (North Western Station), and to offer additional weekend and evening service to the stations from the North Loop area, starting Sunday, December 22.

Weekday service on the #73 Armitage route will be modified to operate via Armitage, Racine, Cortland, Hermitage and Armitage at all times, effective Monday, December 23.

#78 Montrose buses will regularly serve the Montrose Beach throughout the summer on weekends and holidays, starting next summer.

The north terminal of the #86 Narragansett/Ridgeland route will be extended to Montrose to better serve the residential community north and west of the Wright College campus and to allow connections with #78 Montrose buses, effective Monday, December 23.

The #95E 93rd/95th route will be modified experimentally for six months to serve the Stony Island Plaza shopping center at 95th and Stony Island, starting Sunday, December 22.

#126 Jackson buses will use Adams west to Clinton to serve Union Station before continuing over the regular route west on Van Buren, starting Sunday, December 22.

#152 Addison buses will end their trips east via Addison and Lake Shore to West Sheridan Road (3900 North) before returning to Addison for trips west, beginning Sunday, December 22.

The #170 University of Chicago/Midway route will be extended on the east to serve the Metra Electric station at 57th and Stony Island, starting Monday, December 23.

The experimental expansion of weekday service on the Orange Line has been made permanent, with trains leaving Midway from 3:55 a.m. until 12:55 a.m., arriving downtown from 4:19 a.m. until 1:19 a.m. A new 180-day experimental period will begin Sunday, December 29 to determine if revised weekend service on the Orange Line should also become permanent. Orange Line trains will leave Midway on Sundays from 5:35 a.m. until 11:30 p.m., and on Saturdays from 4:35 a.m. until 12:50 a.m., arriving in the Loop about 24 minutes later.

The expansion of rush-period Purple Line Express service, which has been tested experimentally since last December, will become permanent Monday, December 30. The first Purple Line Express leaves Linden at 5:24 a.m. and arrives at the Merchandise Mart southbound at 6:04 a.m. The last afternoon rush-period express leaves Linden at 6:29 p.m. and arrives at the Merchandise Mart at 7:09 p.m. before beginning its trip around the Loop.

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