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CTA Aims To Cut Some Bus Routes, Increase Service On Others

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CTA Bus (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

CTA Bus (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

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UPDATED 08/22/12 10:48 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Transit Authority is planning to add service on its most congested bus and ‘L’ lines, but 12 routes with low ridership are set to get the axe.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports, the CTA says the routes it proposes to eliminate are little-used, and are overlapped by other bus routes, ‘L’ trains, or Pace bus routes. The cuts would save $16 million, the CTA said.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports

The savings would be used to add services to more heavily used bus and train lines.

The CTA tells CBS 2 that its plan, if passed, would provide 48 bus routes with more service. A Chicago Tribune report says the routes that would receive more service include the No. 4 Cottage grove, the No. 53 Pulaski, the No. 66 Chicago, the No. 77 Belmont, and the No.79 79th Street.

The CTA says each Belmont Avenue bus carries 58 customers on average during the 7 a.m. rush hour, and that figure would be cut to 49 under the plan. With the 79th Street bus, the afternoon rush peak would fall from 53 to 47, the CTA said.

The plan would also provide additional trains and more service to all of the CTA train lines except for the Pink Line through the Lower West Side and Cicero, and the Yellow Line in Skokie.

“The CTA’s goal is to provide a comfortable and efficient experience for customers, as well as accommodate growing ridership, which has risen for 16 consecutive months, adding 22 million new riders since June of 2011,” CTA President Forrest Claypool said in a news release. “This route restructuring, based on comprehensive review of the entire transit system, is long overdue and is the first system-wide, holistic review of CTA’s bus and rail service in 15 years.”

The routes the CTA plans to cut include the No. 56A North Milwaukee – which runs northwest on Milwaukee Avenue from the Jefferson Park Blue Line station and is duplicated by Pace bus Route No. 270, the Tribune reports.

Also set to be cut is the No. 11 Lincoln bus between the Western Brown Line stop in Lincoln Square and the Fullerton stop in Lincoln Park, because the northwest-southeast route is made redundant by the path of the Brown Line ‘L,’ the Tribune reports.

In cutting service on the No. 11, the CTA would in turn revive the No. 37 Sedgwick route. Formerly the Sedgwick-Ogden route, the No. 37 was eliminated in 2006, and the Sedgwick Street stretch was folded into the No. 11 route.

Some people and neighborhood groups are already taking issue with the plan to cut service on the Lincoln Avenue route. The Lakeview Chamber of Commerce says it plans to fight the cut to the route.

“We have fought to save the #11 bus before and we will do so again!” the chamber said on Facebook. “Lincoln Avenue needs that bus line!”

The CTA would also cut the No. 122 Illinois center/Ogilvie Express bus, and fold it into the No. 120 Ogilvie/Wacker Express route, the Tribune reports. The No. 132 Goose Island Express is also on the chopping block, unless the Wrigley Company increases its partial subsidy of the service to a full subsidy beyond the amount supported by fares, the Tribune reports.

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