By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz
5:08 PM CDT, March 25, 2013
Every few months, about the time the seasons change, the CTA shifts its bus and train schedules to meet changes in ridership demands. As it gets warmer, the agency typically adds more service, in part, because of increased tourism and the baseball season.
But starting next week, the CTA is reducing or discontinuing service on nine routes just three months after it implemented its decrowding plan that cut partial or full service on more than a dozen routes and added service to 48 bus routes.
Service on the No. 33 Mag Mile Express, which travels during morning rush hour between the Clybourn and Western Metra stops, will be discontinued starting Monday. Metra, which subsidizes the route, could not come to an agreement with the CTA about paying more money for the service, both agencies said.
About 14,700 riders took the route in January, a 30 percent increase from January 2012. Alternate service on the No. 65 Grand bus will be offered.
Meanwhile, the No. 151 Sheridan bus, a popular route among tourists and North Side residents, will no longer run 24 hours a day. Overnight, the bus travels between Union Station and the Berwyn Red Line station in Edgewater.
Now the last bus will leave Union Station at about 1:25 a.m. on weekdays and Saturdays, and at 1 a.m. on Sundays and holidays. The first southbound trip will leave Clark Street and Devon Avenue at about 4 a.m. on weekdays, and at 4:30 a.m. on weekends.
The CTA said as an alternate, riders can take the Red Line or the No. 22 Clark bus overnight, which runs between Washington and State Streets to the Howard stop. The CTA said this change is being made because of low ridership.
Also, the No. 52-Kedzie/California will no longer run on California Avenue north of Belmont Avenue, which is about a quarter of a mile short of its current route along California. A new loop will connect with Addison Street.
The Nos. 48-South Damen, 54A-North Cicero/Skokie Boulevard, 85A-North Central, and 88-Higgins routes will now see reduced service hours and/or frequency.
Two routes that are subsized by businesses, the No. X98 Avon Express and No. 169 69th-UPS Express, also will see changes. The CTA said some of the route changes will be minor.
The CTA also will be implementing shuttle service to substitute for the southern portion of the Red Line, which will close for five months starting May 19 for track overhaul.
Go to transitchicago.com for new bus schedules, which take effect next week.
Groupon is still offering its discounted three-day CTA passes for $9, down from the agency's $20 cost. Go to groupon.com/deals/chicago-transit-authority-cta-2 to purchase the cards, which must be activated by September.
A weekly dispatch from a CTA station of note
This week: 51st Green Line stop
The 51st Street Business Association is hoping to jazz up the Washington Park station with jazz memorabilia. Sandra Bivens, the association's executive director, said her group is looking into formally adopting the station through a CTA program where people or businesses pay for clean-ups a couple of times a year and can install artwork and/or landscaping at a stop. Bivens said she would like to see artwork of local jazz musicians on the platform and throughout the station. She said she would also like to work with the CTA to install more security cameras. "We're doing things to bring the community back and try to show what can be done in a distressed urban area with little resources but a lot of vision," Bivens said.
Next up: Kedzie Brown Line stop
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