CTA to Increase Frequency of Express Bus Service on Select Routes

January 14, 2009

Agency to Test Enhancements on Western, Garfield and Irving Park

The Chicago Transit Board today approved experimental service enhancements along three express bus routes in an effort to improve the overall efficiency of the routes. Frequency will be increased on the #X49 Western Express, #X55 Garfield Express and #X80 Irving Park Express routes and decreased on the corresponding local routes.
"Express routes were originally implemented to provide greater speed and reduce travel times for customers, the addition of buses on these routes will increase the number of customers that we are able to accommodate with express service," said CTA President Ron Huberman. "When these changes are put into place this spring, customers along these three routes will experience a faster and more efficient ride."
The CTA currently operates nine express routes as limited-stop service on streets that also have local service. In the time since they were introduced, CTA has seen a 16.3% increase in total ridership on these nine routes.
These experimental service enhancements will change the ratio of express to local service along the three test corridors – more express buses will be running along these routes. By changing the ratio, CTA will not incur any additional cost from providing additional express service.
CTA research has shown that express corridors are most effective when there is a higher ratio of express to local service. A minimum 15-minute frequency will be retained on the local service.
Western is the third busiest route in the system with over 36,000 customers per weekday in the corridor. Irving Park routes – both local and express – carry 17,500 people per weekday. Garfield routes carry 16,000 per weekday. These three corridors provide the agency with the chance to study a variety of locations and impacts of increasing express service.
The #49 Western Express route was introduced in 1998, the #X55 Garfield Express and #X80 Irving Park Express routes were introduced in 2002.
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