CTA moves forward with bus, rail decrowding plan; the details

The CTA board on Wednesday signed off on an ambitious plan to relieve overcrowding and hopefully shorten travel times on 48 bus routes and six rail lines. As I’ve noted before, it’s the execution of the plan that really matters now.

Despite strong objections from organized protesters of cuts planned for the #11 Lincoln/Sedgwick and #145 Wilson/Michigan Express, the board blessed the original plan as presented in mid-August.

The CTA says the plan is “the equivalent of $16 million in added service to bus and rail routes at no cost whatsoever to taxpayers.” Well, except to the taxpayers whose routes are being eliminated or restructured.

Personally, I think if the plan works, then it’s worth the sacrifice that a small number of riders have to make. And you can bet we’ll be monitoring the results after the plan takes effect on Dec. 16.

Here are the details:

Overview of bus changes:

  • Adds service to 48 routes, including the busiest and most crowded bus routes in the city, by increasing service during peak times on congested routes and extending two other routes.
  • Discontinues 12 duplicative and low-ridership routes and discontinues route segments on three routes.

Overview of rail changes:

  • During weekday peak travel times, 17 rail trips will be added to all six lines, mostly on the Blue, Red and Brown lines, the CTA’s busiest train routes.

Bus routes with added service:

Rail service improvements:

  • Blue Line, weekday and weekend
  • Brown Line, weekday and weekend
  • Green Line, weekday
  • Orange Line, weekday
  • Purple Line, weekday
  • Red Line, weekday and weekend

Bus route “restructuring”:

Routes to be discontinued

  • #X28 Stony Island Express (send #28 downtown during peak instead)
  • #64 Foster-Canfield (Alternative #90 and Pace #209)
  • #69 Cumberland/East River (reroute #81W)
  • #122 Ill. Center/Ogilvie Express (extend #120 into Streeterville)
  • #123 Ill. Center/Union Express (extend #121 into Streeterville)
  • #129 West Loop/South Loop (Alternative #1, #29 and Green Line)
  • #144 Marine/Michigan Express (Add service to #148)
  • #145 Wilson/Michigan Express (Add service to #146)

Routes to be discontinued that are served by Pace

  • #17 Westchester (Alternative Pace #317)
  • #49A South Western (Alternative Pace #349)
  • #56A North Milwaukee (Alternative Pace #270)
  • #90N North Harlem (Alternative Pace #423)

Route segment eliminations

  • #1 Indiana/Hyde Park (Discontinue south of 35th)
  • #11 Lincoln/Sedgwick (eliminate service between Western & Fullerton and rename segments #11 Lincoln and #37 Sedgwick)

Route combinations

  • #111 Pullman/111th/115th – split into two new routes: #111 111th/King Drive and #115 Pullman/115th

Privately contracted routes – Renegotiate subsidy or eliminate route

  • #10 Museum of Science & Industry
  • #33 Mag Mile Express
  • #X98 Avon Express
  • #132 Goose Island Express
  • #169 69th-UPS Express
  • #170 U of C/Midway
  • #171 U of C/Hyde Park
  • #172 U of C/Kenwood
  • #192 U of C/Hospital Express

Owl eliminations

  • #N201 Central/Sherman – Owl service (1:00 a.m. to 5:15 a.m.)

Schedule Integration with Pace

  • #95W West 95th (coordinate with Pace #381)

Goals to reduce overcrowding

  • Buses: Reduce current 70 passengers in a bus to 45-55 passengers
  • Trains: Reduce from current 90+ passengers in a rail car to 70 – 75 passengers per train-car



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  • I think we milked this one enough in the prior post.

    But "And you can bet we'll be monitoring the results after the plan takes effect on Dec. 16." How? Are you going to be personally standing in front of the group home on Lincoln to see if the residents get paratransit to their jobs?

    Your bias is obvious here, but if this is to be more meaningful that what Terry Peterson said on Sept.4, tell us how.

  • In reply to jack:

    There are plenty of metrics on the CTA's website we can review.

  • In reply to Kevin O’Neil:

    Like, I;m sure, how many people hiked from the vicinity of SuperDawg to Jefferson Park because CTA assumed that the 270 would run local in the city. Or how many people boarded 423 south of Howard.

    Not that what they have is that believable.

  • I'm a regular or semi-regular rider of 11 of the bus routes getting added service.
    All of them need it, even the 147, which runs about every five minutes all day & is still overcrowded. People just don't want to drag on the Red Line, which is slow, slow, slow!
    And while I'm glad to see increased buses on 22, 36, 151 & 155, the worst of the worst is the 4.
    I have never seen it run without bunching!
    I mean never, ever!
    20 minute waits are common, with much longer ones [35 minutes earlier this summer for a weekday NB at 63rd at 11AM] also occurring. And those delays occur all over the route, which I ride from downtown to 63rd & back. Four showed up at once!
    But if the 192 ends, there are going to be a huge number of pissed off U of C employees, as every run of that bus I've taken, whether AM or PM, always has run the express portion with standees.
    And if the runs are used by otherwise deadheading buses for the 14 coming or going from the 103rd garage, the the CTA is just plain out of its mind in losing several hundred fares a day! They use the 192 as there's a severe parking shortage by the hospital.
    Many of them will just drive instead of Metra & CTA.
    U of C hospital is going to build another parking structure next year on Cottage Grove between 56th & 57th, so there won't be a space shortage as there is now.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    "I have never seen it run without bunching!
    I mean never, ever!"

    Tracy Swartz made the point in the Red Eye a couple of days ago that CTA should take care of the bus bunching problem first.

    I guess CTA management didn't read that either.

  • But the 22 runs parallel to the Red Line. Shouldn't it be discontinued?

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    So do the 36 & 151.
    The 56 runs next to the O'Hare line, much of the way, it runs right above it.
    I remember when they killed both the Washington & Lake St. bus routes, under the theory that people would take the Lake St. L or the Madison bus.
    Guess what, people did neither & drove!
    CTA managers are half-wits at best & that's on a really, really good day.
    The board members rarely ride, so they know absolutely nothing about what it's like to use it to go somewhere.
    99.999999% of the time they're totally clueless.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Let's remember where Claypool lives--on a side street immediately off 4230 N. Clark. He may want to enrage his neighbors 4 blocks north, but not next door.

    The question now being debated on chicagobus.org is what Forrest's real agenda is.

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