CTA Expands Go Lane Boarding Pilot

August 18, 2005
8/18/05

CTA announced today that it will expand its Go Lane Boarding Pilot as it continues to study the program's ability to speed boarding by creating dedicated boarding lanes for those customers who use Chicago Card and Chicago Card Plus farecards. Next week, CTA will increase the number of buses with Go Lanes on the #156 LaSalle route and add the #20 Madison route to the pilot.

On buses, Go Lanes are located on left-side of the bus entrance for Chicago Card and Chicago Card Plus customers, with the right side reserved for customers paying with a magnetic strip transit card or cash. Rail stations in the pilot have one dedicated turnstile for those paying with either Chicago Card option. The pilot is part of CTA's continued commitment to customer service.

Four buses on the #20 Madison bus route and five buses on the #156 LaSalle bus route will be added to the Go Lane boarding pilot. With the addition of these nine buses there will be a total of 19 buses on nine routes operating with Go Lane boarding in addition to dedicated Go Lane turnstiles already in place at eight rail stations.

?Good service is vital to keeping and growing ridership," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?One way that we are trying to improve service is to speed boarding and thereby provide a faster trip. Our electronic fare cards, the Chicago Card and Chicago Card Plus are a valuable tool in this effort. On the buses equipped with Go Lanes, two customers are able to board at the same time."

Initial observation and customer feedback show customers are taking advantage of the feature with average weekday use of the Chicago Card and Chicago Card Plus farecards by bus customers up an average of 21 percent on buses offering Go Lane boarding. On the rail side during the same period, daily use of the cards increased an average of six percent at stations with Go Lanes.

"The #20 Madison is a busy route and should be ideal for further testing this system for faster boarding," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Carole Brown. ?By increasing the number of Go Lanes we will further encourage customers to use the Chicago Card and Chicago Card Plus fare options."

The faster and easier the boarding process, the more the transit experience is improved for existing customers. Faster boarding also helps to attract new customers.

In addition to the #20 route, the routes that continue as part of the original pilot are the #151 Sheridan, #144 Marine/Michigan Express, #145 Wilson/Michigan Express, #156 LaSalle, #126 Jackson, #6 Jackson Park Express, #29 State and #3 King Drive. Go Lane buses can be identified by bright yellow and blue decals on the outside of the bus and bus operators make announcements as customers board.

The eight rail stations included in the pilot are Howard, Chicago, 79th and 95th/Dan Ryan on the Red Line; Jefferson Park on the Blue Line; and Clark/Lake, Washington/ State, and Washington/Dearborn in the Loop. The dedicated Go Lanes are identified by signs over the turnstile and on the floor in front of the turnstile.

CTA will continue to monitor Go Lane boarding times during morning and evening rush periods to measure time saved during boarding, as well as the ratio of customers using electronic fare media compared to cash or transit cards. Customer reaction and ease of use will also continue to be evaluated as part of the pilot.

The cost of conducting the pilot is minimal for CTA because the work to move the electronic touchpads was done internally and uses existing equipment.

Currently, 115,886 Chicago Card Plus farecards and 91,399 Chicago Card farecards are in circulation for a grand total of 207,285 Chicago Card and Chicago Card Plus farecards.

CTA currently provides approximately 1.5 million rides on an average weekday and has shown strong growth in ridership for the first half of 2005. Through July of this year, ridership is up 3.5 percent system wide over the same period last year.

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