I received many comments on my initial post of the CTA's shut down of the south branch of the Dan Ryan.
The most popular ones asked me where my suggestions were to ease the pain of the five month construction period.
Before I get into that, let me clarify one point: My issue is not the work that needs to be done but rather how the CTA did not seek or consider rider or community input before making this decision.
And asking a group of alderman doesn't count.
It's rude, disrespectful and dismissive of the CTA's south side ridership. In my opinion it's a poor way to arrive at a decision that will effect the quality of life of thousands of people.
Now on to the suggestions.
Please note that this isn't a comprehensive list for all of the south side but rather one for my little neck of the woods as they are the routes that I ride regularly.
1. The #6, #15 and #28 need to go to 24/7 service.
If the construction is going to have anywhere near a happy ending, the south east side of the city needs more bus lines with owl (24/7) service.
For instance, if I stay out after 12:30 AM on the north side I have to take the red line home and hop on an east bound 63rd Street bus. The bus that I normally take, the #6 Jackson Park, stops running after that time from the north side.
Obviously with the red line shut down for five months, that won't be able to happen. Yet if the three bus lines above were extended to 24/7 service, I'd still have multiple options to get home without spending $40.00 on a cab ride.
2. The #3 King Drive and #4 Cottage Grove buses should run with greater frequency.
Anyone who has ridden on these lines already knows how incredibly packed they are. Not just during rush hour periods but all day, every day. And when I say packed, I mean rush hour south bound #151 packed---ALL OF THE TIME.
Throw in the number of wheel chairs, seniors and mobility challenged patrons and that takes out almost 10 seats in the front of the bus which makes the crowding worse.
Every ten to fifteen minutes isn't alleviating crowding now with the red line running. If more buses with greater frequency aren't deployed as a part of this plan, I can only imagine what those crowds are gonna look like when the red line shuts down.
And while we're on the topic of the #3 and #4...
3. Accordion buses are a must for the #3 and #4.
As I mentioned above, regular buses aren't cutting it for the number of riders on the #3 and #4. Deploying additional accordion buses should improve the crowding situation.
4. The bus tracker must give accurate information.
On the weekends, I've noticed that the CTA's bus tracker is less accurate (much more so) than during the week. Buses not showing up, arrival times varying from their estimates----all par for the course during the weekend.
Now this may be a city wide problem but if you're gonna make several thousand south siders rely on the bus for five months, at least the bus tracker information should be correct.
Hopefully these basic but important suggestions have already been raised and the CTA is working implementing them as we speak.
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