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Statement on Ashland, Western express bus service

For immediate release: Active Trans statement on Ashland, Western express bus service


August 18, 2015


Media Contact: 

Ted Villaire
Active Transportation Alliance
Communications Director 
O: (312) 216-0484
C: (312) 563-1118



Chicago, Ill., August 18, 2015 — On Tuesday CTA announced the restoration of express bus service on Ashland and Western Avenues during peak hours. 

The CTA ended express bus service on the #9 Ashland and #49 Western routes amid budget cuts in 2010. The #9 Ashland route is the most popular bus route in the system with 10 million boardings annually.

Active Trans released the following statement on the announcement from its Executive Director Ron Burke:

“Restoring express bus service on Ashland and Western is good news for transit riders who are forced to deal with overcrowding and slow, unpredictable trips on two of the most popular bus routes in the system. This decision should be a first step towards CTA building a true bus rapid transit (BRT) corridor on Ashland with dedicated bus lanes, improved stations, and enhanced sidewalks and medians.

The CTA’s own analysis from 2013 shows restoring express bus service will result in slightly faster trips but nowhere near the speed of BRT. Currently, the average bus speed on Ashland is less than nine miles per hour. With express service it could tick back up to just over 10 miles per hour. Buses will still be stuck in traffic during peak periods, however, and trips will remain unpredictable.

The CTA found building a rapid transit corridor on Ashland could speed up trips to as fast as 16 miles per hour, an 83 percent increase over current speeds. The project would also result in predictability similar to a train, more efficient traffic patterns, and dozens of blocks of sidewalk and crosswalk enhancements. 

As more Chicagoans choose to ride transit every year, it’s time for the city to invest in expanding the city’s rapid transit network to give riders faster, more convenient options. Restoring express service is only a first step, and implementing BRT must come next.”

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The Active Transportation Alliance is a non-profit, member-based advocacy organization that works to make bicycling, walking and public transit so safe, convenient and fun that we will achieve a significant shift from environmentally harmful, sedentary travel to clean, active travel. The organization builds a movement around active transportation, encourages physical activity, increases safety and builds a world-class transportation network. Formerly the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, the Active Transportation Alliance is supported by more than 7,000 members and 1,000 volunteers. For more information about the Active Transportation Alliance, visit or call 312.427.3325.