CTA Enhancing University of Chicago Bus Routes

August 9, 2006
08/09/06

The Chicago Transit Board approved a new five-year contract today with the University of Chicago that will bring service enhancements to bus routes serving the University of Chicago, U of C Hospitals and the Hyde Park neighborhood. The contract establishes a new route and consolidates the existing agreements for the University's four subsidized bus routes with some modifications, and the University of Chicago Hospitals #192 University of Chicago Hospitals Express route, which has been operating under a separate contract.

"Public-private partnerships such as this agreement between the CTA and the University of Chicago help the CTA meet the region's transportation markets," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?Continuation of the subsidized service coupled with service enhancements will better serve university students, faculty and staff, as well as area residents."

?Today's action demonstrates the CTA's commitment to seeking new and better ways to serve customers throughout the region," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Carole Brown. ?In addition to providing additional service for CTA customers, the additional subsidy provided by the University makes the enhancements cost effective for the CTA."

The new agreement comes at the request of the University of Chicago and is the result of customer feedback, as well as observation and analysis by CTA staff.

CTA currently provides five subsidized bus routes for university and hospital students, employees and residents ?
#170 U of C/Midway, #171 U of C/Hyde Park,
#172 U of C/Kenwood , #173 U of C/Lakeview Express and the #192 University of Chicago Hospitals Express, which operates in the off-peak direction during the morning and evening rush periods between the Ogilvie Transportation Center and Union Station and the University of Chicago Hospitals.

Under the new agreement, the university will subsidize operating costs for the six bus routes minus revenue received by the CTA through the fare box. The operating cost for the six routes for the first year is estimated at a maximum of
$1.8 million for the first year of operation.

As before, on the #170, #171, and #172 routes, the university's subsidy will cover fares for customers displaying appropriate identification as a University of Chicago student, faculty staff or hospital staff member. Other CTA customers on these routes pay the regular fare. On the #173, #174 and #192 routes, all customers ? including University of Chicago students, faculty and staff and hospital staff ? will pay the regular CTA fare.

The service enhancements ? including the new
#174 U of C/Garfield route - comply with the service standards adopted by the Board in 2001. The service changes will begin as a 180-day experiment on Sunday, August 27 and Monday, August 28.

University of Chicago Service Improvements

CTA is establishing the #174 U of C/Garfield to provide direct rail station connections between the University and the Hospital and the Garfield Green Line and Garfield Red Line stations. Buses will operate every 20 minutes during weekday rush periods. On Friday and Saturday nights between September and June, #174 buses will operate every 20 minutes from
7:20 p.m. until 2:20 a.m. to accommodate late night crowds making their way between U of C and downtown.

The new route will operate from Normal east on Garfield (55th) to the Red Line Garfield station, the Green Line Garfield station, through Washington Park on Morgan and Payne, east on 57th, north on Woodlawn, and back to Garfield. The westbound route operates from Woodlawn on Garfield to Rainey and Morgan and then continues on Garfield to Normal.

CTA will expand the existing weekday rush period only service on the #170 U of C/Midway bus route to include midday service. The route will operate weekdays every 20 minutes from 6:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m.

Routing will be adjusted in the afternoon in the Jackson Park area to provide more efficient connections with the Metra station. In the mornings it will operate counter clockwise around the park picking up Metra customers on their way to U of C and in the afternoon it will operate clockwise around the park, dropping of Metra customers on their way from U of C.

#171 U of C/Hyde Park will provide more frequent weekday rush period service, with buses every 10 minutes instead of every 15 minutes; later service every day with the last bus leaving at 8 p.m. from 54th and South Shore Drive and at
8:15 p.m. from 60th and Ellis; and a route change that will now operate on University to 55th to improve the speed of trips.

#172 U of C/Kenwood will provide later weekday service from
7 a.m. to 7:18 p.m., as well as earlier and later weekend service from 7 a.m. to 7:18 p.m. There will be more frequent midday weekday bus service every 30 minutes instead of every 45 minutes and all day on weekends. In addition, #172 buses will operate on East Hyde Park Boulevard rather than traveling to Blackstone, 49th and Woodlawn.

#173 U of C/Lakeview Express will operate earlier and more frequent weekday rush period bus service from 57th and Ellis every 30 minutes from 3:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. Buses will no longer operate during late evenings and weekends.

The CTA and University of Chicago first entered into a five-year subsidized agreement to provide service, including management services, on four routes that serve the University campuses in Hyde Park and the Gleacher Center and surrounding areas in September 200. They renewed the agreement for one year in September 2005. In January 2006, the Board approved an ordinance to establish the #192 University of Chicago Hospitals Express route and an agreement with the University of Chicago Hospitals to subsidize the route.

In addition to the service agreements with the University of Chicago, CTA has service agreements in place with UPS and Harborquest for Avon.

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