Under fire from Mayor Emanuel, the CTA acted quickly today to expand bus service in the Pullman neighborhood tomorrow to coincide with Wednesday's opening of a new Wal-Mart store at 10900 S. Doty Avenue.
The #111A Pullman bus shuttle will run every 20 minutes on weekdays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and on weekends and holidays between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Service demand is expected to be highest at those times. This service will remain while a final service plan is reached with the developer and community, the CTA announced.
The CTA had signed a contract in 2011 to expand service when the Wal-Mart opens. From a Tribune report:
[Ninth Ward Alderman Anthony Beale] said the retail developer built the site to accommodate buses with a bus turnaround and nearby sidewalks for commuters. He said CTA officials told him it would cost $680,000 a year to extend the two bus routes to the Wal-Mart. But Beale said the costs would be offset by the additional riders making trips to the store.
CTA officials, acknowledging that they signed the 2011 contract Beale described, said late Monday afternoon that the transit agency is working with the developer and Beale and will implement service "as soon as possible.''
ASAP became today, but not before Mayor Rahm took CTA President Forrest Claypool to task for taking so long to come up with a solution. Rahm was at a ribbon-cutting ceremony, making these acerbic remarks, according to the latest Tribune story by Jon Hilkevitch:
The mayor told the crowd that he would have been to the celebration earlier, but he took the bus and had to walk about five blocks.
As the crowd and the mayor laughed together, Emanuel said: “Forrest ain't here. You know, whatever. He'll be here tomorrow to make sure that bus is here every 20 minutes.”
Crediting Beale for his persistence, Emanuel said, “You don’t build great stores like this so people get dropped off five, six blocks away.’’
As if the CTA doesn't have enough media nightmares with the Ventra rollout this week. This seems like one that could have been avoided.