CTA Debuts its Holiday Bus in the 2014 Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

November 21, 2014

CTA Holiday Bus will participate in beloved parade; Saturday travel information provided to accommodate parade attendees

The CTA today announced that customers will be able to take a ride on the new CTA Holiday Bus this holiday season, complementing the popular annual CTA Holiday Train that delights millions of riders each year.

The Holiday Bus will make its inaugural debut in the 23rd Annual BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival on Saturday, November 22. Customers of all ages are invited to come to the parade, which will include the jolly CTA Holiday Bus, and can easily take part in the holiday festivities by taking CTA’s convenient and affordable buses and trains.

Customers’ commutes will be brighter when they see this 60-foot bus adorned in hundreds of white and multi-colored lights and a festive exterior wrap featuring “Ralphie the Reindeer”, who leads the way with his ruby nose aglow and the CTA Santa Express sleigh in tow. 

Created by CTA bus personnel as a way to say “thank you” to customers and to make their commutes brighter and more cheerful this holiday season, the Holiday Bus will operate December 2-23 along nine bus routes throughout the city as part of regular service. Normal fares apply.  

Bring your kids or be one yourself and catch a ride on the Holiday Bus. CTA will provide opportunities for kids to get photos with Santa in his fireside den on the bus. For more information and scheduling, visit: transitchicago.com/holidaybus.

The CTA today is also announcing its annual Holiday Train schedule, with schedule information available at transitchicago.com/holidaytrain. The CTA Holiday Train will begin service on Friday, November 28.

Festival Details

The lighting festival motorcade is scheduled to step off at 5:30 p.m. on Michigan Avenue from Oak Street to Wacker Drive. Immediately following the parade, a fireworks display will begin and be visible along the Chicago River between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive.

To accommodate increased ridership before and after the festival, longer trains and/or more frequent service will be provided on four heavily traveled rail lines, while several downtown CTA bus routes will be detoured for the set-up, duration and clean-up of the event.

The CTA encourages customers to allow extra travel time and to plan ahead by loading transit value or unlimited-ride passes to their Ventra fare cards at rail stations, online or at more than 1,300 local retailers ahead of time. This will not only help decrease customers’ travel times, but also allow them to skip long lines at station vending machines, including on return trips. Customers can also use their personal contactless bank cards to board trains and buses. For more information on how to use Ventra, visit transitchicago.com/ventra.

Rail Service

From 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., longer trains will operate along the Blue, Brown, Orange and Red lines.

To accommodate increased ridership during peak travel times, the Red Line will operate every 6-minutes until 7:30 p.m.

Event Set-Up to Detour #22 and #70 Buses (8 a.m. – 10 p.m.) 

Due to the set-up and assembly of the festival motorcade, from 8 a.m. until approximately

10 p.m., northbound #22 Clark and eastbound #70 Division buses will be detoured due to the closure of Dearborn Street between Delaware and Maple; Delaware Place between Dearborn and Clark; and Walton Street between State and Clark.

Northbound #22 buses will travel over the regular route along Dearborn to Chicago then will operate via Chicago, LaSalle, North Avenue to Clark and resume the regular route. Southbound #22 buses will not be affected and will travel over the regular route.

Eastbound #70 buses will only operate to Division/Elm before turning to begin westbound service. Westbound #70 buses will depart from Division/Clark and travel west on Division over the regular route.

Nine Bus Routes Detoured During Event (3 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.)

Michigan Avenue will be closed to traffic in both directions between Oak Street and Wacker Drive starting at 3 p.m., which will result in the following nine bus routes being temporarily detoured to adjacent streets: #3 King Drive, #4 Cottage Grove, #6 Jackson Park Express, #10 Museum of Science & Industry, #36 Broadway, #66 Chicago, #146 Inner Drive/Michigan Express, #147 Outer Drive Express and #151 Sheridan

Northbound #3 King Drive buses will operate via Michigan, Randolph, lower Randolph, Columbus, Fairbanks to Erie and into the Erie Terminal. From the terminal, southbound #3 buses will travel via Fairbanks, Columbus, Randolph to Michigan, then resume the regular route. 

Northbound #4 Cottage Grove buses will not operate north of Randolph. Southbound trips will begin at Randolph/Field Blvd. then will travel via Randolph to Michigan and then resume the regular route.

Northbound #6 Jackson Park Express buses will travel to Michigan/Randolph before turning to begin southbound service. From Randolph/Michigan, southbound #6 buses will continue west on Randolph to State and then resume the regular route.

Northbound #10 Museum of Science & Industry buses will operate via State, Randolph, Dearborn, Chicago to Clark before turning to begin southbound service. From Clark/Chicago, southbound #10 buses will travel via Clark, Washington to State and then resume the regular route.

Southbound #36 Broadway buses will travel via Clark, Washington to State and then resume the regular route. Northbound #36 buses will operate via Dearborn, Chicago, LaSalle, North Avenue to Clark and then resume the regular route.

Eastbound #66 Chicago buses will operate via Chicago, LaSalle to Illinois and then resume the regular route east on Illinois past Fairbanks/Columbus. Westbound #66 buses will travel via Grand, LaSalle to Chicago and then resume the regular route.

Southbound #146 Inner Drive/Michigan Express buses will travel via Lake Shore Drive, LaSalle Drive, LaSalle, Washington to State and then resume the regular route. Northbound #146 buses will operate via State, Randolph, LaSalle, LaSalle Drive to Lake Shore Drive and then resume the regular route.

Southbound #147 Outer Drive Express buses will travel via Lake Shore Drive, LaSalle Drive, LaSalle, Washington to Michigan and then resume the regular route. Northbound #147 buses will operate via State, Randolph, LaSalle, LaSalle Drive to Lake Shore Drive and then resume the regular route.

Southbound #151 Sheridan buses will operate via Stockton, LaSalle Drive, LaSalle, Washington, State to Adams and then resume the regular route. Northbound #151 buses will travel via State, Randolph, LaSalle, LaSalle Drive to Stockton and then resume the regular route.

CTA Info On-the-Go

Plan your trip using the Google Transit Trip Planner. Be sure to also check out CTA on Facebook or Twitter (@CTA) for timely system travel updates and alerts. 

For details about all CTA service, call 312-836-7000 or visit the CTA website at transitchicago.com.

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