November 15, 2001

The CTA Board Thursday approved the establishment of a new experimental bus service linking the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Pilsen communities on the Near West Side to the United Parcel Service facility in southwest suburban Hodgkins.

UPS will pay 50 percent of the cost of operating the new service, which will begin on a six-month trial basis Monday, November 19. Federal Job Access Reverse Commute (JARC) funds will also be used to support the experimental program. Regular CTA fares will be paid by customers using the service.

?As we rebuild the CTA, we are working hard to serve markets that weren?t previously served by existing routes," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. "The #168 route is the result of a cooperative effort with UPS to provide a new market outside our regular service area and attract many more customers."

The #168 UIC/Pilsen Express will be the second CTA bus route to provide direct service to the UPS facility from Chicago neighborhoods. In March, 2000, the CTA partnered with UPS to establish the #169 69th/UPS Express route from the 69th/Dan Ryan Red Line station and communities on the Southwest Side. Daily ridership on #169 buses grew from 474 in April, 2000, to 913 this past August, and the route has been made a permanent part of CTA service.

?By reaching out to employers like UPS, we are providing hundreds of workers on the South and Southwest Sides with convenient, affordable public transportation to a major job location," said CTA Chairman Valerie B. Jarrett. "Our initial partnership with UPS has proven highly successful, and we anticipate equally positive results from this new effort."

Like the #169 route, #168 buses are scheduled to bring United Parcel Service employees to their jobs for shift changes Monday through Friday at the Hodgkins facility. The buses will make limited stops between the UIC-Halsted Blue Line station and the Ashland Orange Line station before entering the Stevenson Expressway for express trips to Hodgkins.

#168 UIC/Pilsen Express buses will start their trips southbound on Halsted from the UIC-Halsted Blue Line station weekdays at 2:30 a.m., 8:20 a.m., 3:45 p.m. and 9:05 p.m. After proceeding south on Halsted, the buses will make 10 intermediate stops along Halsted, 18th, Damen, Cermak and Ashland before entering the Stevenson Expressway. Total trip time will be from 45 minutes to an hour in either direction.

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