April 14, 2004

Chicago Transit Board Approves Changes

The Chicago Transit Authority is enhancing its bus service by adding two new routes and restoring two experimental routes to their original routing. Some of the changes are related to the 180-day experimental restructuring of routes serving the Lake Shore Drive corridor, which began last August. The experiment addressed, for the first time in decades, the growing ridership and changing travel patterns of the area.

?The experimental route enhancements are allowing us to refine our bus service along the Lake Shore corridor by examining the impact of the changes, so the experiment is doing what it was designed to do," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?We constantly evaluate our service to make sure we are doing our best to meet the transit needs of our customers."

The adjustments are a result of customer feedback, as well as observation and analysis by CTA staff. The CTA expects to implement the changes this summer. All changes comply with the Service Standards adopted by the Board in 2001.

Weekend ridership on Lake Shore Drive bus routes increased in 2004. Saturday ridership is up 4.4 percent for January and February of this year over the same period last year. Sunday/holiday ridership is up 4.8 percent for the same time period.

"We continually strive to improve service for our customers," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Carole L. Brown. ?Today's Board action contributes to our efforts to retain our current customers and attract new customers by making our service more convenient."

Service modifications approved by the Board include returning the #15 Jeffery Local to its original routing at the time the Lake Shore Drive corridor experiment began last August. Currently, service operates via Lake Park Boulevard instead of Hyde Park Boulevard between 56th and 51st Streets. Instead of operating on Lake Park Boulevard, service will return to operating via South Hyde Park Boulevard between East Hyde Park Boulevard and East 57th Street.

The route name and number of the #28 Stony Island Express will be changed back to #28 Stony Island and will operate between 103rd/Stony Island and 47th/Lake Park via Lake Park between East 56th and 47th Streets returning service to Lake Park north of 56th Street.

As a result, a new #X28 Stony Island Express route will be implemented to continue providing weekday rush period express service between 103rd/Stony Island and downtown via South Hyde Park Boulevard between East 57th Street and East Hyde Park Boulevard. This new route will continue to provide a second express option to downtown during rush hours. Additional service on the #6 Jackson Park Express will be provided during off-peak hours when the #X28 Stony Island Express is not operating.

New Shuttle ServiceThe Chicago Transit Board also approved the creation of weekend shuttle service to tourist attractions on the near south and southwest sides for 31 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The shuttle was created in partnership with the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce and the Pilsen Little Village Information Center; those organizations will provide a partial subsidy. The remainder will be funded with a federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) grant that funds projects geared to help attract customers to transit. The City of Chicago provided a similar service for the past three years supported by CMAQ grants.

The Chinatown/Pilsen Shuttle will provide free service on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays between the Chinatown and Pilsen neighborhoods, Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, the Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium at the Museum Campus, the Prairie Avenue Historic District and the Sunday Maxwell Street Market (7 a.m. until 3 p.m. Sundays). The shuttle will complement local service for customers wanting to make connections to attractions along the route. Service will operate every 20 minutes from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Last summer, under the City's operation, the trolley carried 21,500 customers. The demand for the shuttle service will help to increase CTA ridership as well as attract new customers to the system.

Information on all CTA service can be found by calling 836-7000 from any local area code or on the web site at www.transitchicago.com.

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