CTA President Frank Kruesi Monday inaugurated a new CTA express bus service on Western Avenue, providing riders on the west side of the city with fast service to destinations across town. Buses on the new #X49 Western Express route will make limited stops, mainly at streets with connecting bus and 'L' lines, between Berwyn (5300 north) and the Evergreen Plaza shopping center at 95th.
The new express service will operate weekdays from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m., making only 31 stops instead of 150 between Berwyn and 95th. In addition to serving five 'L' stations and crossing bus lines, #X49 Western Express buses will allow faster trips to numerous high schools, hospitals and businesses along almost 18 miles of Chicago's longest street. It will also allow customers on Western north of 79th to reach the Evergreen Plaza shopping center without having to transfer.
"Western Avenue is an integral part of CTA's key network of routes," President Kruesi said, "and with more than 30,000 riders a day, it is one of our busiest streets for buses. Until now, CTA has operated express buses mainly along the lakefront. In response to increased customer demand, we are providing a faster way to travel across town through an area that never had the convenience of parallel 'L' service."
Service on the #49 Western local route extends from Berwyn to 79th, and will continue to operate at all times. South of 79th, CTA's #49A South Western route provides service to 135th in Blue Island. On the far North Side, buses on CTA's #49B North Western route operate from the Brown Line 'L' station at Leland to Howard.
Monday, December 14, also marks the start of longer weekday operating hours or additional service on nine other CTA bus routes: the #6 Jeffery Express, #14 South Lake Shore Express, #62 Archer, #66 Chicago, #71 71st, #74 Fullerton, #79 79th, #85 Central and the #111 111th/115th. At the same time, rush period buses on the #100 Jeffery Manor Express and the newly renamed #129 West Loop/South Loop route will begin operating over altered routes to meet new service needs.
CTA is also starting an express bus route on Cermak Road on weekends effective Saturday, December 19, to serve ridership that has increased more than 47 percent over the past year. Overall, CTA ridership is up by 2.2 million trips through October of this year. On Monday, December 21, weekday Brown Line service to the Loop will be extended from 10 p.m. until midnight to accommodate growing ridership and provide better connections with other 'L' lines that operate later.###