The CTA on Wednesday unveiled its proposal to cut or change 26 bus routes with low ridership while adding more bus and rail service to ease some of the system’s most crowded spots.
The proposal, which the CTA said will not cost the agency any money, is the first major service overhaul in 15 years. The CTA board will vote on the plan at its Sept. 12 board meeting, and service changes would go into effect Dec. 16.
The changes come on the heels of 16 months of consecutive growth in ridership on the CTA—leading to some cramped buses and trains, particularly during rush hour.
“It's been 15 years since the CTA has taken this type of comprehensive, holistic look at service,” CTA spokesman Brian Steele said. “Our sense is that this growth will continue.”
On the rail side, 17 rail trips will be added to six lines during weekday rush hour. These additional trains will mostly be on the Blue, Red and Brown Lines, which will also see weekend service boosts. The Yellow and Pink Lines will not see any additional service.
On the bus side, high ridership routes such as the No. 79-79th Street, No. 49-Western, No. 50-Damen, No. 66-Chicago, No. 36-Broadway and No. 3 King Drive buses will see additional service.
But some routes also face entire or partial elimination. The CTA said Pace or rail service will cover some of the cuts.
The CTA has proposed splitting the No. 11 Lincoln bus, which travels between Skokie and the Clinton Blue Line station near Union Station, into two routes. The No. 11 bus would service the area north of the Western Brown Line station while a new No. 37-Sedgwick would service south the area of the Fullerton station.
The portion of Lincoln Avenue between the Western and Fullerton stops would be without bus service.
The CTA said the Brown Line can cover this area. Under that scenario, riders south of the Paulina stop on Lincoln Avenue would need to walk a few blocks to get to the Brown Line.
Also, the No. 144-Marine/Michigan Express and the No. 145-Wilson/Michigan Express, which both connect Michigan Avenue to the North Side along the lakefront, would be eliminated. The CTA said it plans to add service to the No. 146 Inner Drive/Michigan Express and No. 148 Clarendon Michigan Express.
The CTA would also ask for more money from businesses that help subsidize routes in order to prevent the routes from being eliminated. This includes four University of Chicago routes, the No. 132-Goose Island Express, which travels between the Metra Clybourn station and downtown, and the No. 33 Mag Mile Express, which runs between the Western/Grand Metra and the Clybourn Metra.
Riders can share their opinions of the proposed changes at a public meeting at 6 p.m. Sept. 4 at CTA Headquarters, 567 W. Lake St.
There are eight routes proposed for discontinuation
>> No. X28 Stony Island Express (send No. 28 downtown during peak instead)
>> No. 64 Foster-Canfield (Alternative No. 90 and Pace No. 209)
>> No. 69 Cumberland/East River (reroute No. 81W)
>> No. 122 Ill. Center/Ogilvie Express (extend No. 120 into Streeterville)
>> No. 123 Ill. Center/Union Express (extend No. 121 into Streeterville)
>> No. 129 West Loop/South Loop (Alternative No. 1, No. 29 and Green Line)
>> No. 144 Marine/Michigan Express (Add service to No. 148)
>> No. 145 Wilson/Michigan Express (Add service to No. 146)
There are four routes proposed for discontinuation that are served by Pace
>> No. 17 Westchester (Alternative Pace No. 317)
>> No. 49A South Western (Alternative Pace No. 349)
>> No. 56A North Milwaukee (Alternative Pace No. 270)
>> 90N North Harlem (Alternative Pace No. 423)
Ther are two proposed route segment eliminations
>> No. 1 Indiana/Hyde Park (Discontinue south of 35th Street)
>> No. 11 Lincoln/Sedgwick (eliminate service between Western and Fullerton Avenues and rename segments No. 11 Lincoln and No. 37 Sedgwick)
There is one proposed route combination
>> No.111 Pullman/111th/115th – split into two new routes: No. 111 111th/King Drive and No. 115 Pullman/115th
Under the proposal, nine privately contracted routes would have their subsidies renegotiated or the route would be eliminated.
>> No. 10 Museum of Science & Industry
>> No. 33 Mag Mile Express
>> No. X98 Avon Express
>> No. 132 Goose Island Express
>> No. 169 69th-UPS Express
>> No. 170 U of C/Midway
>> No. 171 U of C/Hyde Park
>> No. 172 U of C/Kenwood
>> No. 192 U of C/Hospital Express
One route would have night service eliminated
>> No. N201 Central/Sherman – Owl service (1:00 a.m. to 5:15 a.m.)
One route would see schedule integration with Pace
>> No. 95W West 95th (coordinate with Pace No. 381)
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