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CTA Moving Forward With Bus Rapid Transit Line

CTA Bus (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

CTA Bus (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — The CTA is ready to move ahead with construction on its first experimental Bus Rapid Transit line, on Jeffrey Boulevard.

What CTA officials did not expect to have to do is reassure nervous riders.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports

Some riders at CTA budget hearings in recent days have expressed fears that with the advent of the so-called Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) experiment on Jeffrey Boulevard, bus stops will disappear and service on the 14/Jeffrey line will be cut or sold to a private operator.

“Not at all,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool.

Claypool said the buses dedicated to the new service will get their own lane on Jeffrey Boulevard, bicycle racks and other improvements will be made at stops, and buses will get priority at stop signals.

“It’s speed, it’s comfort, it’s convenience,” he said.

And, it’s far cheaper than traditional rail rapid transit. The experiment is being funded by an $11 million federal grant.

Jeffrey had express service as recently as February 2010, when it was eliminated as part of a system-wide budget cut. Claypool said the experimental service will essentially take its place without affecting local service.

The line will begin operation in a year. If it is successful, look for similar lines on Western and Ashland Avenues that will have stations and pre-paid boarding.