CTA Announces Ashland and Western Express Routes Returning Next Month

November 18, 2015

CTA Board Approves Reinstatement of Express Service on Two of CTA’s Busiest Routes

The Chicago Transit Board today approved the reinstatement of the Ashland and Western Express routes as part of a three-phase effort to improve the bus speed and performance on two of CTA’s busiest routes.

Beginning on Monday, December 21, the #X9 Ashland Express and #X49 Western Express bus routes will run during the morning and afternoon rush periods. The express service will reduce travel times for passengers on these heavily traveled corridors. Express buses will make stops roughly every half-mile and at all bus and rail transfer points. Mayor Emanuel and CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr., announced the restoration of express bus service on these routes in August 2015.

“These express routes will improve speeds and service on two of CTA’s busiest bus routes which provide for than 50,000 daily rides,” said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Terry Peterson. “This first phase is part of a comprehensive effort to provide shorter and more efficient commutes to this important economic corridor.”

Each day, these two critical north/south routes provide more than 55,600 CTA rides. However, due to traffic congestion and close stop spacing, both are affected by slow bus speeds, leading to consistent bus bunching and big gaps in service.

“We know how important these two bus routes are to the livelihood of thousands of people across Chicago,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter Jr. “Reinstating this service will provide customers with optional express service during the AM and afternoon rush that will save up to 22 minutes on trips along each route once all improvements are complete.”

As part of the three-phase effort to improve speeds along the two routes, the CTA will also be optimizing bus stop spacing on the local routes by removing some of the least-used stops. This will allow buses to travel faster by reducing the time buses spend frequently merging in and out of traffic while still providing convenient access along both corridors. When implemented, up to 85% of all trips on Ashland and Western will be unaffected by bus stop relocations, while all trips will benefit from faster service. Feedback provided by the public will be taken into consideration for route stops.

For more information on proposed stops and to submit feedback, please visit: http://www.transitchicago.com/ashlandwesternx/.

Coming in later phases, Transit Signal Priority (TSP) upgrades will make it possible for buses running behind schedule to communicate with traffic signals along each corridor to hold green lights longer or to shorten red lights. TSP installation work is being spearheaded by the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA).

Timeframe for implementation:

  • Spring 2016: Ashland from Cermak to 95th Street
  • End of Year 2016: Western from Howard to 79th Street
  • End of Year 2017: Ashland from Cermak to Irving Park Road


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