I’d been looking forward to riding the new J14 Jeffery Jump bus service for a few weeks now. It was a chance to participate in a small but significant turning point in the history of the CTA. The Jump is a new express bus along Jeffery Boulevard (2000 East) on the South Side, incorporating several elements of bus rapid transit (BRT) and hopefully paving the way for full-blown BRT downtown, on Ashland Avenue and/or Western Avenue within a few years.
In a nutshell, BRT brings buses up to subway-like speed via special infrastructure on the existing roadway, at a fraction of the cost of creating new rail lines. Ideally, BRT includes dedicated bus lanes, center running buses, stations in the median where customers pre-pay before boarding, traffic signals that turn green when a bus approaches and other features.
The Jump, funded by an $11 million Federal Transportation Administration grant, is essentially BRT lite, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction. Dedicated bus lanes only exist on a portion of the sixteen-miles Jeffery route, a two-mile stretch from 67th to 83rd Streets, and only during rush hours. From 7 – 9 am weekdays, parking is banned on the east side of the street to accommodate inbound bus traffic, and vice versa for outbound buses during the evening commute from 4 – 6 pm.
Continue reading Might as well Jump! The CTA debuts a stepping-stone to bus rapid transit
CTA passengers wait for trains in the Loop. Photo by Jim Watkins.
Last week I excitedly announced the launch of the Chicago Transit Authority’s new system to get predicted arrival times for trains by text messaging (also known as SMS). I thought that the messaging syntax and the station codes were amusing but clever.
I emailed Tony Coppoletta, the CTA’s manager of external electronic communications manager, to ask about how the codes came to be, as well as upcoming Train Tracker features and the capabilities of SMS communications. Coppoletta directs how they reach their customers and partners with information about CTA services through digital means. Continue reading Insight into how CTA built Train Tracker by Text
Grab your phone right now and send the message “CTATRAIN THOR” to 41411. Or send “ctatrain logs” to the same number. Wait a moment.
Clever, right? Continue reading CTA launches train tracker with text messaging
A CTA passenger waits for a train in the snow at Belmont Brown Line station. Photo by Mike Priorie.
Knowing when your bus or train is about to come can help you make better decisions. “Do I have enough time to get coffee from the shop across the street?” “Can I pack my own lunch today?” “If I miss this bus because I can’t find my good shoes, how long will it be to the next one”? I’m sure we’ve all asked ourselves these questions*. The Chicago Transit Authority’s transit tracking services can help with the answers. Continue reading The state of transit trackers in Chicago