The Morgan Street Green/Pink Line station will be open in May, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation. This photo was taken April 2, 2012, by Jeff Zoline, a frequent photo contributor.
There are 8 transit stories in this post (1 for Pace, 2 for Metra, 4 for CTA, and one story about how transit users save money because they’re not driving to work). Hat tips to CTA Tattler and Riders for Better Transit for keeping up with transit news in Chicagoland.
1. Pace yesterday began putting more buses on routes 755 and 855, both of which can drive on the shoulders of I-55/Stevenson Expressway during rush hour periods when traffic is moving slower than 35 MPH. They’re doing this because of increased demand for a route that’s seen its reliability improved and travel time decreased. There’s no word yet on the status of running buses on the shoulder of I-90/Jane Addams Memorial Tollway.
2. People who take transit to work instead of driving save $1,006 per month because of the cost of gas, insurance, parking, and other expenses. This is actually just a monthly calculation the American Public Transport Association releases. See the savings in the top 20 cities on the APTA’s website (via Chicago Sun-Times).
3. The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) will be replacing tracks on the elevated loop structure as well as switching and signal equipment at Tower 18, the junction of 5 routes (Brown, Orange, Pink, Green, Purple) at Lake Street and Wells Street. The work will require weekend closures in the summer (via Chicago Sun-Times). As always, stay connected with CTA and visit their website before traveling in the Loop on weekends.
A Metra Electric train (with the older series Highliner cars) sits on the tracks next to a South Shore train at the 55th-56th-57th Streets station in Hyde Park. Photo by Eric Pancer.
4. Metra will receive new passenger cars on the Metra Electric line. The first cars will arrive in September for testing with six new cars per month arriving beginning in November. Half of the cars will be manufactured in Japan by Nippon Sharyo and the second half will be made in Rochelle, Illinois: “The first car that they build from scratch in the Rochelle plant they’re actually going to send back to Japan to make sure everything was done 100 percent the way they intended it to be” (via CBS Chicago).
5. Metra’s on-time performance has improved, including over some periods when the figures were artificially inflated (because of a weak reporting formula they developed). The Heritage Corridor, previously the worst performing line, has seen better performance because of finished track work and collaboration with Canadian National, the line’s track owner, to reduce freight train interference (via Chicago Tribune). Freight train interference is a top cause of delays on Metra, and there are only two lines without it: Metra Electric and UP-North.
The CTA is looking for an organization to sponsor the holiday train. Photo by Michelle Reitman.
6. The CTA and its partner, IMG World, are seeking sponsors for several of the transit agency’s more notable events and services: Holiday train, Bus Tracker, Train Tracker, penny rides on New Year’s Eve, and free rides for Chicago Public School students on the first day of class. What I like about the partnership is that IMG World won’t be compensated until “sponsorships are secured and approved by the Chicago Transit Board” (via CTA press release). If your company would like to sponsor one of these, you can view the RFPs.
7. The CTA issued a press release indicating that it had the highest annual ridership since 1991. Congratulations! But 2011, while higher than 2010 by 15 million rides, saw 9 million fewer rides than in 1991. The CTA listed several projects it believes helped generate the increase: more station cameras, Train Tracker, bus tracker LED signs at bus stops, and the Station Renewal program.
8. The CTA Morgan Street Green/Pink Line station (over Lake Street) will be opening in May and the Chicago Journal explores the stations that used to be here (which opened in 1893), and at Halsted Street, Racine Avenue, and Loomis Avenue. Additionally, they discuss the station that used to be at Cermak Road between State Street and Wabash Avenue. This story should help us understand that once stations are closed and removed, it’s difficult to get replacements, even decades letter.