CTA proposes speed measures on busy bus route

CTA Chicago Brown Line station

The CTA is proposing implementing measures to speed the No. 66 bus between the Chicago Brown Line stop and Navy Pier. (June 30, 2014)

Ever been on a bus and thought that you could walk faster because the bus appeared to stop every few feet to pick up riders?

The CTA may be tackling this problem of too many stops on one of its most popular east-west routes.

The CTA is proposing changes to speed the No. 66-Chicago bus, which travels between Navy Pier and Austin and connects to the Red, Brown and Blue lines. The agency has proposed teaming with the Chicago Department of Transportation to time traffic signals to allow buses to move faster through downtown.

The agency also is proposing the elimination of nine bus stops and relocation of six bus stops between the Chicago Brown Line stop and Fairbanks Court and Grand Avenue. The CTA wouldn't say which stops are potentially on the chopping block.

"That's where we see the most issues" with efficiency and speed, CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said. Chase cautioned that these proposals are preliminary.

The agency saw some success last year in improving bus efficiency when it added more bus trips along the route and replaced 40-foot buses that service the route with 60-foot buses as part of a systemwide plan to make buses and trains less crowded.

Chase said the agency is constantly reviewing bus routes to see where improvements can be made.

The No. 66 bus saw 8.3 million entries in 2013, down 3.1 percent from 8.6 million entries in 2012. Only the No. 9-Ashland bus, No. 49-Western bus and No. 79-79th routes saw more entries last year.

Today is the day

The CTA will complete its transition to Ventra, its new fare payment system, on Tuesday. The CTA now only will accept Ventra cards, some personal bank cards, certain phones and cash (on buses). The agency was accepting disposable fare cards through Monday. The CTA was supposed to complete its transition in December but pushed back the date so Ventra vendor Cubic Transportation Systems could fix glitches the agency said have now been fixed.

Platform for change

Mayor Emanuel and Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin on Monday celebrated the opening of the new mezzanine of the Clark/Division Red Line stop. The station is undergoing a $50 million rehab that began in 2012. Work now shifts to the old mezzanine, expected to be completed next year.


A weekly dispatch from a CTA station of note

This week: California Pink Line

In the stationhouse of this Little Village is adorned with a mosaic depicting the migration of birds that is supposed to symbolize the coming and going of riders. Unfortunately, some of these riders have made art of their own in the form of graffiti on the stairwell to the platform and etchings on platform benches. Leave the art to professionals.

Next up: Granville Red Line

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