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CTA to ask for Southwest Side bus route extension

By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz

RedEye

2:22 PM CDT, October 8, 2013

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The CTA is asking its board on Wednesday to approve a permanent extension of a Southwest Side bus route.

For more than a year, the CTA has been experimenting with an extension of the No. 35 31st/35th bus route to include 31st Street between Kedzie and Cicero Avenues.

That section of the route was discontinued in 1997 after low ridership. For years, community groups have fought to have that service restored, often packing CTA board meetings with supporters.

A CTA spokeswoman said she didn't have details about the CTA's proposal to permanently extend the route. The board meets Wednesday for its monthly meeting.

The CTA board voted in August 2012 to implement six-month experimental service. An extension of the experiment was approved in April. At the time, the CTA said it would cost $1.2 million for a full year of operation.

The route would be paid for with federal funds and local matching funds, the CTA said.

About 4,300 people rode the No. 35 bus in an average July weekday, the latest CTA ridership available. Ridership this year on that route is down 4.8 percent through July, according to the CTA. Bus ridership is down 2.8 percent systemwide.

This is not the only bus service addition the CTA has made recently. After pressure from City Hall, the CTA last month instituted a new route, the No. 111A Pullman Shuttle, which travels between the new Pullman Wal-Mart and two nearby Metra stations.

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