CTA Announces Unique Partnership with Northwestern University

July 15, 2015

CTA’s #201 bus route offers increased service and convenient connections to campus, Ryan Field, Evanston and other nearby destinations

The Chicago Transit Board today approved a five-year agreement with Northwestern University that will provide University employees, students and faculty with convenient transportation to campus, Ryan Field, Evanston’s central business district and other destinations and reduce local traffic congestion by consolidating redundant local transit options.

Beginning this fall, the university is replacing the service provided by its Ryan Field Shuttle with the CTA’s #201 Central/Ridge bus route, which will offer university faculty, students and employees with more frequent service, longer service hours and extended routing that provides valuable connections between Old Orchard Mall and CTA’s Howard bus and rail terminal.

“This first-of-its-kind agreement with Northwestern University exemplifies the value of public-private partnerships,” said CTA President Dorval Carter Jr. “This benefits not only the school, but also the surrounding communities by making it easier to connect to local communities and neighborhoods and reducing local traffic congestion and harmful emissions as a result of fewer buses traveling many of the same roadways.”

Under the new agreement, which goes into effect September 1, the university has agreed to reimburse CTA for the cost of $2 fares for those who board #201 buses displaying a valid and active Northwestern University-issued ID card. The program will be available to eligible university riders each year between September 1 and June 30 (dates can be adjusted as needed to align with the start and end of the academic school year) until 2020. For the remaining two months of the year, service along the #201 route will continue to be provided; however, university riders will need to pay the standard CTA bus fare.

The value of the agreement to CTA will be a maximum of $32,000 a month for the first four months of the contract. That amount may be revised upward based on actual ridership (up to $40,000 a month, if both parties agree) for the remainder of the 2015-2016 school year. The maximum amount will be reset twice a year for subsequent school years.

Service along the #201 route is provided on weekdays beginning at approximately 5 a.m. until 8 p.m. and also on Saturdays between approximately 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. In 2014, the route averaged roughly 2,000 rides each weekday and 1,100 on Saturdays. The Ryan Field Shuttle offered shorter weekday hours and no Saturday service.

CTA anticipates an additional 600 weekday rides along the #201 bus route as a result of this new agreement.

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Additional information

Routing Overlay Map: #201 Central/Ridge and Ryan Field Shuttle (.pdf)

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