CTA to Launch Faster Bus Boarding Pilots at 69th Red Line Station, Inner LSD/Belmont

June 15, 2017

As part of CTA’s ongoing efforts to enhance bus service, agency will pilot program to increase bus boarding speed and efficiency at busy transit locations


Continuing its commitment to improved bus service for customers, the CTA today announced it will test prepaid bus boarding to allow customers to prepay their fares ahead of boarding buses for two bus routes at the 69th Red Line Station and two bus routes on Inner Lake Shore Drive at Belmont beginning Monday, June 26.

“Mayor Emanuel and I are always looking for ways to improve service for CTA customers and one of the ways to accomplish that is to reduce the time it takes for our customers to board buses, allowing the bus to get on its way more quickly,” said CTA President Dorval Carter. “By piloting prepaid boarding at select locations, customers can pay fares in advance and board buses much like they do boarding the ‘L’ – which gets customers to their destinations more efficiently and reduces delays that occur during busy rush periods.”

Since 2016, CTA has tested prepaid bus boarding at select locations to allow customers to prepay their fares and board buses more quickly with the goal of providing faster, more reliable and efficient service to customers. Piloting prepaid boarding will determine benefits for customers as well as future viability.

69th Red Line

CTA will offer customers of the westbound #67 67th/69th/71st and southbound #29 State routes the ability to prepay fares during the evening rush period only, between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Customers will pay their fares to a CTA staffer who will have a mobile Ventra reader, ahead of boarding a bus from the designated boarding area on the bus bridge located on the south side of the 69th Red Line station.

Inner Lake Shore Drive/Belmont

CTA will offer customers of the southbound #146 Inner Drive/Michigan Express and #135 Clarendon/LaSalle Express routes the ability to pay their fares before boarding buses during the morning rush period only, between 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.

CTA expects to run the pilots at least four months to allow ample time to collect and analyze data on boarding times before and during the pilot to determine effectiveness and future viability.

The prepaid bus boarding pilot follows a number of bus service improvements that Mayor Emanuel and CTA President Carter have implemented for customers including:

  • Reinstatement of Ashland and Western Express routes
  • Expanded bus service on several South Side routes
  • Launch of Loop Link
  • Piloted additional service on the #11 Lincoln and #39 Pershing routes, and new #31 service on 31st Street.


For more information about CTA’s prepaid boarding initiatives, visit transitchicago.com/prepaidboarding.

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