Pace picks up CTA’s slack while increasing service in Chicago and suburbs


A Pace route 755 or 855 coach bus heads towards the Damen Avenue on-ramp at the Stevenson Expressway. In the budget, Pace will increase service on these popular routes and build a park-and-ride in the I-55 highway corridor. 

In contrast to the noted absence of cooperation at the Regional Transportation Authority, the “overseer” of Chicago Transit Authority, Metra, and Pace transit agencies, Pace included in its budget announcement that some of its routes will change to carry passengers who will lose their CTA route on December 16. (CTA and Pace have also partnered to offer Ventra, an open fare payment system that will eliminate magnetic strip fare cards.) Pace will provide service for the following CTA routes:

  • 56A/North Milwaukee
  • 17/Westchester
  • 49A/South Western
  • 64/Foster-Canfield
  • 69/Cumberland-East River
  • 81W/ West Lawrence
  • 90N/North Harlem

Additionally, Pace will not be changing fares even as it increases service, including on the I-55 Stevenson routes that are allowed to drive on the shoulder during rush hour (in the peak direction) when speeds are lower than 30 MPH. Pace will hold 13 public hearings about the budget; the first is Monday, October 22, from 11 AM to 1 PM, at the Sulzer Regional Library, 4455 N. Lincoln, in Chicago.

CBS2 Chicago quoted Pace board member Vernon Squires urging “Pace planners to continue to review the route map with CTA to see where other areas of duplication can be eliminated”. This is the kind of job a regional authority should be doing, but it would be a good exercise for any of the RTA’s three service boards.

8 thoughts on “Pace picks up CTA’s slack while increasing service in Chicago and suburbs”

  1. I truly believe that the attitude of Metra is the driving cause of the RTA disagreements. Pace and CTA seem to agree on a lot – common fare system, Pace picking up slack for lost CTA routes, etc. Metra’s refusal to accept CTA cards as payment, their delayment of the RTA plan, the fact that they came up with their own master plan without consulting Pace or CTA, and their antiquated business practices are some of the reasons that I believe this to be so. Metra really is the bottleneck of the region, and I believe they are doing a lot to stop the progress of transport for Chicagoland.

    1. I agree that we’ve been held back by an anti-progress management culture at Metra. If there was some turnover among leadership, leading to fresh ideas, I think it would be a vast improvement.

      1. I think people and even some officials at Metra forget that Metra does not represent the suburbs. Metra connectes the suburbs to the central city, and thus benefits the entire region. I think if people can get over this backward way of thinking, then we can start making some serious progress.

          1. Chicago is the hub of the region. There are other anchor cities – Naperville, Joliet, etc. – but Chicago remains at the center of the network. If Metra connected municipalities then the system map would look more like a web rather than a hub-and-spoke. Maybe if the STAR line had been built, these municipalities would have had more autonomy.

          2. I would like to know more about how many people take trips that use multiple Metra lines. Like, are there people who commute from Lombard to Wilmette via Metra?

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