Temporary and Permanent Service Changes Beginning Sunday, December 28
As part of the Chicago Transit Authority’s continued efforts to further improve service for customers, beginning Sunday, December 28, enhancements will be made to select bus routes. In addition, with the resumption of four-track operations at the Belmont and Fullerton stations, a new rail schedule also will go into effect that will improve travel times along the Red, Brown and Purple Express lines.
With the recent completion of three-track operations at the Belmont and Fullerton stations, Red, Brown and Purple Express trains have resumed normal operation on all four tracks. As a result, customers will have improved rush-hour travel options, faster travel times and more frequent service.
During the morning and evening rush periods, Red Line trains will run every three-and-a-half to four minutes. With Red Line trains operating eight minutes faster, a trip from the Howard terminal to downtown will take approximately 32 minutes compared to an average of 40 minutes during three-track operation.
The frequency of Brown Line trains operating during the morning and evening rush periods will increase from every five minutes to four minutes. Brown Line trains will operate seven minutes faster, traveling from the Kimball terminal to Clark/Lake in approximately 40 minutes.
And the frequency of Purple Express trains to the Loop will increase from every 15 minutes to every eight minutes during the rush periods. A trip on a Purple Express train from Howard to downtown will be 35 minutes compared to 40 minutes during three-track.
In addition, at the start of service on Monday, December 29, Purple Line Express trains will return to the direction of travel used before the three-track project began – clockwise. Purple Express trains will travel through the Loop with stops at Merchandise Mart, Clark/Lake, State/Lake, Randolph/Wabash, Madison/Wabash, Adams/Wabash, Library, LaSalle/Van Buren, Quincy, Washington/Wells then return to Merchandise Mart and head north to Howard.
Permanent Bus Service Enhancements
The following service improvements will go into effect on Sunday, December 28:
#9 Ashland (Owl Service Only)
Late night service along the #9 Ashland route will be extended from the North/Clybourn Red Line station at Halsted to North/Clark to improve connections between the #22 Clark and #151 Sheridan routes which also operate during late night hours.
On weekdays, service along the #57 Laramie will operate until approximately 9 p.m. – two hours later in the evenings – to accommodate local business and retail hours.
To meet increasing demands, service hours for the #91 Austin will be extended during the week and on Sundays. No changes have been made to the Saturday schedule.
On weekdays, service will begin 20 minutes earlier at 5:10 a.m. for northbound service and at 4:25 a.m. for southbound service. In the evenings, service will end 20 minutes later at 10:25 p.m. and 9:50 p.m. for northbound and southbound service, respectively.
On Sundays, service will begin one hour earlier at 7:05 a.m. for northbound service and 6:25 a.m. for southbound service.
#143 Stockton/Michigan Express
To improve connections from the north lake shore area through the central part of Michigan Avenue, service along the #143 Stockton/Michigan Express will be extended south to Michigan Avenue and Congress instead of terminating at Washington.
#90N North Harlem
Due to low ridership during late evening hours, service along the #90N North Harlem route will end at 8 p.m. on weekdays (instead of 12:30 a.m.) and on Saturday’s service will end at 7 p.m. (instead of 10:30 p.m.). Service will continue to be provided in this area on other routes including the #68 Northwest Highway and #88 Higgins.
Experimental Bus Service Enhancements
Following approval from the Chicago Transit Board in November, the following experimental service changes will be made to eight CTA bus routes. These service improvements are designed to improve overall travel in and around the growing South Loop area, as well as to adjust late night service between Chicago and Evanston.
Operating these modifications as an experiment allows CTA to make adjustments to service based on customer feedback and analysis prior to determining if the enhancements will become permanent.
#3 King Drive
To address increased demand for service along the Michigan Avenue corridor, #3 King Drive buses will be rerouted to remain on Michigan Avenue instead of operating on Indiana between Roosevelt and 16th Street. By eliminating the turns, travel times will improve for customers traveling to and from downtown.
Buses traveling on the #12 Roosevelt route will operate southbound on Indiana Avenue between Roosevelt and 16th before returning north on Michigan to connect the South Loop area to the growing commercial area of Roosevelt Road. As a result, #12 buses will no longer serve the Museum Campus. Service to the Museum Campus will be provided by #146 Inner Drive/Michigan Express buses.
#18 16th/18th buses will be rerouted to travel via Halsted, Roosevelt to Michigan rather than via Canal and Cermak to 18th and Indiana. Westbound service will begin at the Roosevelt Red, Green and Orange line station.
This routing will provide better connections to downtown via the Red, Green and Orange lines as well as accommodate areas around Halsted and Roosevelt, which are undergoing substantial residential and retail development. #18 16th/18th customers who travel east of Halsted on Cermak will use the #21 Cermak for their trip.
To better serve Mercy Hospital, the #21 Cermak route will be extended to 25th Street and Michigan. This also will provide a connection to the Cermak-Chinatown Red Line station from the hospital.
Due to the closing of Michael Reese Hospital, service along the #35 35th route will terminate at Cottage Grove and 35th Street instead of traveling north to 25th Street. Service to Mercy Hospital will continue to be provided via the new routing of the #21 Cermak bus route.
#129 West Loop/South Loop
During the morning and evening rush periods, southbound #129 West Loop/South Loop buses will extend service from 18th Street to McCormick Place to accommodate customers traveling from the West Loop Metra train stations – Union Station and Ogilvie – to McCormick Place.
#146 Inner Drive/Michigan Express
Instead of turning on Balbo, southbound #146 Inner Drive/Michigan Express buses will remain on State until Roosevelt and will then make a stop at the Red, Green and Orange line station before continuing on to the Museum Campus. This modification to the #146 route will improve service by connecting North Michigan Avenue with Red, Green and Orange lines and will replace service to the Museum Campus previously provided by #12 Roosevelt buses.
#201 Central/Ridge (Owl Service Only)
With the Red Line’s Howard south entrance reopened and accessible, #201 Central/Ridge buses will operate to the Howard Terminal, instead of the Granville Red Line station, during night Owl service hours or when the Purple Line is not operating.
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