August 27, 2004

Midday and Weekend Service Hours to Provide Easier Access to Blue Line and O'Hare

Fifth District Congressman Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Transit Authority officials today announced expanded service on the #X80 Irving Park Express bus route. Beginning Sunday, the #X80 will provide convenient midday and weekend connections between the lakeshore and CTA rail stations on the Red, Brown and Blue Lines along Irving Park Road, a major east-west traffic corridor. Currently, the #X80 provides express weekday morning and afternoon rush period service along Irving Park between the lakefront and Harlem.

The 180-day experiment will focus on providing improved connections along Irving Park Road between the lakefront and the CTA's Irving Park Blue Line station. The express route links the Red and Brown Lines and the lakefront to O'Hare Airport via the Blue Line, eliminating the need for North Side residents to travel into the Loop in order to catch the Blue Line to O'Hare Airport.

Congressman Emanuel secured a $750,000 grant from the Federal Highway Administration to fund service for one year.

?CTA's expanded express bus service will connect Chicago's North Side neighborhoods with the economic engine of O'Hare," said Congressman Rahm Emanuel (D-IL). ?I applaud CTA's vision for this expanded service to help meet Chicagoans? commuting needs."

?My thanks to Congressman Emanuel for his support of public transportation, and the CTA in particular," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?Ridership along the Irving Park corridor has increased steadily since we began this express route. Expanding service hours to improve connections, especially to the airport, will help draw more people to the convenience and affordability of public transportation."

?Expanded service on the #X80 provides more options for CTA customers, providing an express link to three rail lines," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Carole Brown. ?Giving our customers additional transit options helps relieve traffic congestion in the region and helps our customers avoid the high cost of parking."

The 180-day experiment, approved by the Chicago Transit Board at its July meeting, adds non-peak, weekday 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. In addition, new 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. #X80 service between Harlem Avenue and the Irving Park Blue Line station will continue to operate during a.m. and p.m. rush periods.

Since its launch in June 2002, average weekday ridership on the #X80 has increased 324.1 percent from 248 in June 2002 to 1,053 in June of this year.

The #X80 Irving Park Express bus route first began service as an experimental route on June 24, 2002. #X80 buses made 18 stops along the route compared to 65 stops made by the normal #80. The #X80 route saves customers between four and nine minutes over the #80 route. The #X80 became permanent in September 2003.

The Chicago Transit Authority is the nation's second largest public transit system, serving Chicago and surrounding suburbs. Nearly two million customers use some combination of CTA, Pace and Metra daily to get to and from destinations throughout the six-county region. The CTA is committed to meeting the transportation needs of the region by providing quality and affordable transit service for all of its customers.

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