July 10, 2002

The Chicago Transit Board Wednesday approved the six-month extension of experimental service on the Purple Express and Orange Lines and the #168 UIC-Pilsen Express bus route to the United Parcel Service facility in southwest suburban Hodgkins. Federal Job Access Reverse Commute (JARC) funds are used to support the additional service, which was established late last year.

Under the experimental extension of service, Orange and Purple Express Line trains begin their first trips of the day about an hour earlier than before and start their last trips later also. The #168 route is a new service that connects the UIC and Pilsen communities on the near Southwest Side with the UPS facility in Hodgkins. While these service improvements have not met projected ridership levels, gains have been made, and service is being extended another six months to allow more time for growth.

CTA Chairman Valerie B. Jarrett said, "The extension of CTA service can broaden access to a wide range of jobs by providing a convenient, economical transportation option. We are always looking for new ways to provide service to meet demand, taking our customers where they need to go."

Employees who start work early at Midway Airport are among those who benefit from extended Orange Line service that now starts at 3:55 a.m. daily from Midway instead of at 4:35 a.m. The first train arrives at the Library-State/Van Buren station on the inner Loop 'L' at 4:19 a.m. to start service from downtown. The last train leaves Midway at 12:51 a.m., which is 1? hours later than before.

The first Purple Express train leaves Linden weekday mornings at 5:24 a.m., which is also an hour earlier than before, and reaches its first Loop stop at Clark/Lake at 6:04 a.m. Afternoon rush period service operates later as well, with the last train leaving Linden at 6:28 p.m. and arriving at Clark/Lake at 7:11 p.m.

#168 UIC-Pilsen Express buses start their trips at the UIC-Halsted Blue Line station, and make 10 stops before entering the Stevenson Expressway en route to the UPS facility in Hodgkins in time for shift changes.

"The experimental service we are now extending is part of an initiative the CTA has been taking to create new markets and expand our customer base," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. "We continue to offer service improvements for customers, such as east-west express bus service on our new X55 Garfield Express and X80 Irving Park Express routes, and the new X98 Avon Express route to the Avon Products facility in north suburban Morton Grove."

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