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Did You Know?

While the Chicago region’s population grew by 18 percent since 1980, the traffic increased by 66 percent in the same period.

Ald. Rossana Rodriguez on board with better bus service

In our mission to improve the speed and reliability of CTA buses, Active Trans staff has been taking aldermen on bus rides in their wards with constituents.

Seeing the dilemmas experienced by bus riders first hand is a powerful reminder of the high costs of slow and unreliable service.

Recently, we joined 33rd Ward Alderman Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez (pictured at top, second from left) for a ride on the CTA’s #80 Irving Park bus. It’s a route that more than 11,200 people use daily and it serves eight wards. Every day buses connect people to jobs, schools, healthcare, and other services while taking up far less space than if people were using cars.

We caught the east-bound Irving Park bus outside the alderman’s office and took it several stops before hopping off it near the edge of the ward at Horner Park.

Taking refuge in a bus shelter (pictured below), we discussed several proven strategies that would go a long way toward upgrading Chicago’s bus service. The strategies we’d like the city to adopt are dedicated bus lanes, prepaid boarding, and traffic signals that give buses priority at intersections.

It’s urgent that members of City Council work with transit agencies to implement these measures. Indeed, bus ridership fell an astounding 21 percent since 2012 and much of this drop occurred on the busiest routes, including #49 Western, which runs through Rodriguez’s ward.

And the #76 Diversey route is another route in the ward that’s in dire need of upgrades, having received an “F” in Active Trans’ Bus Friendly Streets Report Cards in part due to a high rate of bus bunching.

We’re pleased Ald. Rodriguez supports improving bus service. She knows that more people choosing to ride the bus to everyday destinations will result in safer streets, stronger local businesses, and a cleaner environment.

See what Ald. Rodriguez had to say about the vital role of fast and reliable bus service in the 33rd Ward.

And, in addition to being smart public policy to upgrade bus service, there’s a personal connection for Ald. Rodriguez: Her mother regularly rides the CTA’s #81 Lawrence bus to pick up her son after school. See what she had to say about how much her family values the Lawrence Bus.

We look forward to continuing to partner with Ald. Rodriguez, fellow members of City Council, and Mayor Lightfoot to improve the speed and reliability of CTA buses.

If you want to see buses get priority on Chicago streets with dedicated bus lanes, priority at traffic signals, and faster boarding, go to www.activetrans.org/lightfoot to send a message to your alderman and the Mayor.

Top photo from left to right: Carol Maher, Active Trans Ambassador; Ald. Rossana Rodriguez; and Active Trans staff W. Robert Schultz and Steve Simmons