CTA Continues To Make Bus Route Improvements

July 14, 2004

Today the Chicago Transit Board approved service adjustments affecting five CTA bus routes. Modifications to two bus routes, expanded service on an experimental basis on one route and renewed bus service agreements between the Chicago Transit Authority and United Parcel Service (UPS) will take effect in late summer or early fall.

"The CTA is continually looking for ways to enhance service for existing customers and to attract new customers to the affordability and convenience of public transit," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Carole Brown. ?The improvements implemented by the Board affirm our commitment to providing service that meets the needs of our customers."

'service improvements are designed to balance available resources and improve the connections between where our customers live and where they need to go," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?Recent changes have successfully resulted in ridership increases on a number of routes."

Recent experimental bus service enhancements in the northern suburbs of Evanston and Skokie and North Rogers Park, and along the Lake Shore Drive corridors have been successful. Ridership along the Lake Shore Drive routes has increased 2.6 percent on weekdays and nine percent on weekends.

Additionally, experimental route changes in the northern suburbs and North Rogers Park, which focused on increasing Saturday ridership in the area, have resulted in a 13.6 percent increase for Saturday ridership. Although these routes experienced a 2.9 percent decrease in average weekday ridership, it was significantly less than the nine percent decrease the same routes had experienced prior to the service enhancements.

Enhancements approved today include:

The south terminal of the #26 South Shore Express will move from its current location at 106th/Ewing to 106th/Buffalo. The #26 route was established as part of the Lake Shore Drive corridor experiment that began August 31, 2003. Theroute operates between the far Southeast Side to downtown during peak direction, weekday rush periods. Route monitoring and customer feedback has determined that locating the route's terminal at 106th/Buffalo will provide a more convenient location and potentially generate additional customers.

A service modification will be made to the westbound #35 35th bus route. Buses will operate from the 35th/Archer Orange Line station northeast on Archer to Leavitt, north on Leavitt to 35th, west on 35th and the regular route. This enhancement will provide westbound service along 35th between Western and Leavitt, improve speed of trips, ease traffic congestion at Archer/Western and expand service options for customers along 35th Street.

Additionally westbound #35 buses will be rerouted from 36th Place/Albany north on Albany to 36th Street, and west to the terminal at Kedzie. This improvement will prevent buses from getting caught in traffic while turning north from 36th Place onto Kedzie and turning west onto 36th Street from Kedzie.

The Board also approved a 180-day experiment establishing midday and weekend service on the #X80 Irving Park Express route. Currently, the #X80 route provides limited stop morning and afternoon rush period service ? from 5 to 9 a.m. and from 2 to 7 p.m. " along Irving Park between the lakefront and Harlem. New midday service adds trips along Irving Park between the lakefront and the Irving Park Blue Line station every 12 minutes from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Weekend service will be scheduled around the peak hours at O? Hare. Weekend service will operate every 12 minutes from 6 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturdays and from noon until 9 p.m. on Sundays. The experiment is focused on providing improved connections along Irving Park to O'Hare Airport via the Blue Line, as well as the connections between the Blue and Brown Lines and the lakefront.

The Board also approved separate five-year agreements with United Parcel Service to continue providing service on the #168 UIC/Pilsen Express and the #169 69th/UPS Express routes to the UPS facility in Hodgkins. Additionally, service on the #169 will be reduced with two trips operating to and from the day shift, and only one trip operating for the remaining three shifts. UPS is a participant in the CTA's Corporate Connections Program in which the CTA works with companies to develop transportation options for their employees. As part of the program, UPS will subsidize the annual cost of operating the #168 route up to $54,600 and $102,000 for the revised #169 service.

The #169 route began as an experiment in March 2000 and became permanent in May 2001. The #168 route began experimental service in November 2001 and became permanent in September 2003.

"Renewing these agreements with UPS illustrates the valuable partnership we have with local employers in helping get their employees to jobs with service that is on time, clean, safe and friendly," said CTA President Frank Kruesi.

Information on all CTA service can be found by calling 836-7000 from any local area code or on the web site at www.transitchicago.com.

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