The CTA college tour: Nine schools in one day

My friend Claude did something very cool for his high
school junior nephew — he took him on a tour of nine Chicago colleges in
one day, all on a one-day CTA pass.

The tour actually started in Evanston with Northwestern University, but it was all Chicago from there:

Loyola University of Chicago, Truman College, DePaul University,
Illinois Institute of Technology, Columbia College, Roosevelt University, the University of Illinois at Chicago and the School of the Art
Institute of Chicago.

That’s a lot schools, and many excellent choices. Says Claude: “It’s a little like speed-dating (quantity over quality),
but a good way for a prospective student to experience many campuses
quickly (and “greenly”). We chronicled our zany experiences in real time
on my website
, and also offer some campus tours by mass transit in
other cities.”


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  • Now that there are the 170s, he could have toured the University of Chicago at Chicago. Didn't get south of 35th, I see.

    In effect touring Northwestern and not the U of C is a diss.

  • In reply to jack:

    I'm with you Jack, but the U of C doesn't make it very easy to get around via public transit (even for students - when I was there we were one of the few Chicago colleges without the U-Pass).

    The best routes to get there are the #2 or #6, but you don't hear a lot about that from the University. Also, the Metra Electric is an easy way to get to campus, if you're willing to switch transit modes and walk a bit.

    I actually think the U of C needs to do a better job promoting the transit options to get to and from campus. Most students are familiar out of necessity, but visitors often have no idea. Spending some university money on improving public transit from campus to the rest of the city would also go a long way.

  • In reply to aaronjbrown:

    When I went there, there weren't any 170s. The U of C apparently is paying a lot to run them, and the students aren't paying fares.

    I just rode the 55 bus.

    Also, the U Pass is a fraud, since it is a mandatory add-on to student fees.

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack, all the college students I know love the U-Pass.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    Only full-time students are charged the U-Pass fee and it is designed to discourage driving to crowded campuses. If the student doesn't pick theirs up or use it, that's their problem. I am quite fond of mine.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    Hey, Uncle Claude!! As a former high school counselor, current graduate student, transit aficionado and involved aunt, I applaud your Chicago colleges by CTA tour. Your nephew is a lucky kid.

  • In reply to jack:

    Why on earth would you take it personally that this kid didn't make it to U of C on this trip?

  • In reply to jack:

    You're such a crab, Jack.

    The 170s are fine, but they only go through Hyde Park, so they replaced a lot of the U of C-only routes that were run before them. My point was that it's still very tough to from campus to the rest of the city - the 55 to the Red/Green Lines is still the main way students go.

    And you have to be kidding me about the students not paying fares. The students pay $50k/year to go to the school - I'm pretty sure that's how they afford the bus routes (along with the $5bn endowment). More importantly, the U of C has a major incentive to make Hyde Park more accessible - both for students and residents. That directly benefits the school.

    As for the U-Pass, every student I've talked to loves it. And - as a fellow U of C alum - I'm sure you'd agree that any incentive for students to get out a bit more would be welcome.

  • In reply to aaronjbrown:

    Hello from Uncle Claude the Author!
    The previous commenters are so right that no Chicago Campus Tour by Mass Transit should skip U of C, but no dis was intended. My nephew had actually spent a week at U of C for a leadership training workshop just prior to our Campus Tour by CTA. When I met him there, we saw Robie House, I-House and the Obama home (where Secret Service shagged us away).
    We had to make some tough calls in designing the itinerary (Truman, Malcolm X or Harold Washington? Which of the Loop schools?)
    Anyhow,we recommend a U of C visit to prospective students and appreciate the travel tips offered above. - Claude Walker

  • In reply to aaronjbrown:

    Actually, it's the CTA that makes it difficult to use public transit to & from the U of C!
    The 192 bus, from the downtown train stations only runs southbound in the morning rush & northbound in the evening rush. The last NB arrives at Northwestern Station at 7:35PM, at exactly the same time the North Line train is leaving, causing a one hour wait for the next train.
    The 55 Garfield bus goes south to 56th St in it's route through Washington Park, it wouldn't cause much of a delay for it to continue south on Payne Dr. to 57th St, so that people could get to the U of C Hospitals easier & then go back to 55th St. on Cottage Grove for two blocks.
    The EB 59 bus needs to be rerouted to 60th St. East of Cottage & 59th for the WB trip back to Cottage.
    This is classic CTA intransigence to refuse to change routes. There are numerous routes that don't go to places nearby, but no real changes have been made in decades, just routes cutoff or totally eliminated.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    I would tend to agree that the 59 bus shouldn't stay on 61st, although that doesn't seem to be the issue it was when it was impressed on people that going south of South Campus was a definite "no no." However, as you point out, it would do a better job if it served the hospitals, and your rerouting would eliminate the need for 170. There basically isn't a need for a bus on 61st.

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