June 6, 2001
Program To Assist Welfare to Work Recipients Access Jobs

The Chicago Transit Board at its monthly meeting today authorized CTA staff to apply to the Federal Transit Administration for grants under the Job Access Reverse Commute (JARC) program. This program would provide transportation services to assist welfare recipients and low-income individuals in accessing employment opportunities.

The CTA would use the JARC grant to identify and implement viable new CTA routes, make adjustments to existing CTA routes and schedules, and extend off-hour service. In applying for this $386,000 grant, the CTA proposes a program that includes service improvements, bus stop improvements, and customer outreach efforts. The CTA would match 50% of the grant with local funds.

Chicago Transit Board Chairman Valerie B. Jarrett said, "The CTA has been doing its part to support the Welfare to Work initiative. We're pleased to be able to make improvements to our service to make it more convenient for employees to reach their work locations on our system. By providing quality, affordable travel options we can better serve new markets that may not be served by CTA's traditional routes."

The CTA's Job Access Reverse Commute program would work with the Department of Human Services to provide better service to employees who work between late evening through early morning time periods. This program will allow the CTA to make short route adjustments in hours of service or extend routes on existing bus routes to better serve employment centers such as the Central Post Office. These plans will serve the needs of these customers and have the potential to be self-sustaining.

"The CTA has made many improvements to our service and facilities to attract more customers to our system. Our ridership is continuing to increase as more people and businesses are seeing the value and convenience of public transit," said Chicago Transit Authority President Frank Kruesi. "The Job Access Reverse Commute program will allow us to better fulfill our mission to link people, jobs and communities."

The CTA will work with employers to educate employees on what transit options are available to them during the late evening and early morning shift changes and alert them of the convenience of taking CTA to get to work.

Other CTA service improvements have already been made to better connect customers to their work destinations. The #169 69th route was implemented last March to serve the UPS facility in Hodgkins. The route serves the facility's four shift changes and has far exceeded the initial ridership expectations of 180 riders per day and now carries an average of 885 riders per day.

The #54B South Cicero and the #79 79th routes were extended in June of last year to operate east of the Ford City complex to serve the Sweetheart Cup Company. More than 1,100 people are employed at the plant and other neighboring businesses have also benefited from the service extension.

The CTA has also extended service on the #36 Broadway to serve the Central Post Office during late evening hours and on the #34 South Michigan to serve the disposal plant at 137th and Doty.

"I have challenged my staff to look for creative ways to better serve our customers and encourage new riders to try our transit system. We want our customers to see the CTA as a very practical and economical way to get around. What we propose to do will allow us to provide on-time, clean, safe and friendly service to more and new customers," said CTA President Frank Kruesi.

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