CHICAGO (CBS) — After years of agitation, Little Village residents are about to get back its old CTA bus route.
When the 31st Street bus was discontinued in 1997, it had a ridership of less than 100 a day. But the fare then was a $1.50 and gasoline cost only $1.20 a gallon. Now, fuel costs more than three times that, while the CTA bus fare has increased only 50 cents, to $2.
The CTA’s board is expected to approve the reborn route at its meeting Wednesday.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports
The Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO) has led the agitation for the route’s re-birth since at least 2007. A week ago, it urged would-be riders to write or call CTA President Forrest Claypool.
“Bringing back the 31st Street bus would help students safely reach schools, open up countless new job opportunities, and offer a much-needed economic boost for businesses along the route,” LVEJO stated in the flyer accompanying the action. It said federal funding would pay for half of the cost.
CTA will experiment with a bus on 31st Street between Kedzie and Cicero Avenues — not to the lakefront as activists would like. The experiment will last for at least six months.
CTA spokesman Brian Steele said times and demographics have changed, and said the two-mile test route was chosen because of the density of the population in the area.