Today’s Headlines

  • Editorials: Traffic Cam Program Should Be Reformed, Not Scrapped (Tribune, Sun-Times)
  • 41st Ward Candidates Worried About Removal of Red Light Cam from School (DNA)
  • 2 Teens Killed in Truck-Car Crash on Their Way to a Basketball Game in Rochelle (Fox)
  • Report Finds Officer Was Likely Driving Over 100 When He Fatally Struck Man (Tribune)
  • CTA’s Challenges: Higher Rail Ridership, Lower Bus Use, & Threat of Rauner Cuts (Tribune)
  • City Notes Looks Into the Question of Why Bus Ridership Has Declined
  • Federal Officials & Metra Are Investigating the Cause of Monday’s Derailment (Tribune)
  • What to Expect at Today’s CTA Board Meeting (RedEye)
  • Evanston Approves 8 Divvy Locations for Installation This Spring (Daily Northwestern)
  • Lakeview Mom to CTA: Treat Strollers the Same as Wheelchairs on Buses (RedEye)
  • Residents Complain That Blue Chairs on Lawrence Streetscape Are Poorly Placed (DNA)
  • Get in Gear for the Second Annual Divvy Data Challenge (Chicagoist)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA.

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Due to a funding shortfall, Streetsblog Chicago has suspended publication of orginal articles. Please see Streetsblog Editor-in-Chief Ben Fried’s message about the hiatus, and my post about the effort the revive the site via local fundraising. In the meantime, I am continuing to produce Today’s Headlines on a volunteer basis as a service to readers.

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As a result, CCT has very generously offered us a challenge grant. If Streetsblog reaches $50K in donations and sponsorships by our April 8 deadline to reboot the site, the Trust will provide the last $25K needed to resume daily publication of original reporting. In other words, our finish line is within sight.

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Please feel free to spread the word about the challenge grant to potential donors, or contact me at 312-560-3966 or greenfieldjohn[at]hotmail.com with leads on other possible funding sources. To keep you apprised on our progress as we enter the home stretch, I’ll be updating the above Donate-O-Meter along with Today’s Headlines each morning.

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– John

  • CL

    Bus ridership has declined because taking the bus is frustrating and unpleasant, while the train is faster and more reliable.

    I can take the 22 or the red line to work. I live just steps from the 22 bus, but I walk 10-15 minutes to the train every morning because it’s a much better experience. During rush hour, the red line comes every 3 minutes, and the trip is fast.

    The bus can easily be delayed 10+ minutes, and every so often you check the tracker and see it’s going to be 20 minutes. Then, you stop every 2 blocks and wait in rush hour traffic. By the end of my commute, we’re just crawling.

    Anyone who commutes by public transit wants to live by the train if they can help it. We’re getting ready to move, and I don’t care where we live as long as it’s on the red line. I will not take the bus to work.

  • Matt

    Obviously everyone would prefer the train over the bus (except the CTA, since they are so quick to tell us how buses are cheaper to maintain). However, there’s not always a choice, which is why there is bus ridership in the first place.

    In my case, I take the blue line to work but I live about 2 miles from the closest station. That’s a 10 minute bus ride or a half hour walk. I could take it to Clark and Lake, transfer to the brown line and take that home, but that takes almost as long as walking.

    The quickest way if there’s not a bus approaching is to hop on a Divvy. It takes me about the same amount of time, so if there’s even a few minutes before the bus comes it’s the quickest option.

    But you are absolutely correct, the bus is frustrating and unpleasant. There is a spot on the #73 bus where there are 3 stops within 1 block (Campbell, Milwaukee, Western). Those could (and in my opinion should) be consolidated to 1. Due to the lights at the Milwaukee and the Western intersections, it can take the eastbound bus 4 or 5 minutes to get through those 3 stops. To stand there and watch the bus not move is so aggravating.

    Just yesterday I rode by the Clybourn Metra stop as passengers were getting off the train. I saw quite a few people walking up to Divvy bikes that most likely would have either taken the #73 or #9 bus in the past.

    So… I agree that buses are frustrating and unpleasant, but I think the main reason ridership is down is because there are more options available, particularly Divvy and Uber/Lyft. Nobody I know likes the bus, it’s just the only option sometimes. When there are other options available, people are very likely to use them instead.

  • I live near Wilson and Pulaski; our closest Blue Line station is either Jeff Park or Irving Park, depending which way you go. The Montrose bus, the Lawrence bus, and the Pulaski bus are all, theoretically, options for getting from my house to the station.

    However, in rush hour, there are regularly 35min headways, meaning it’s faster just to walk it. Which is ridiculous. My husband has regularly gotten off the train at Irving Park and consulted his “where are the busses” app and discovered the next northbound bus is not due for FORTY MINUTES. This is at 6:15PM on a weekday. Ridiculous.

    If we had maximum 15-min headways all day, and under that in rush hour, bus ridership would skyrocket. Of course, it’s more expensive to run the system that way (see also Metra’s ridiculous 2-hour headways outside their designated preferred commute times and directions).

    In the next Divvy expansion there are going to be a couple stations closer to our house than the blue line station is, and I think my husband is going to move to Divvy commuting (from here down to UIC) almost exclusively when they open. Mode-switching to Divvy is not an option everyone can take advantage of, but he’s an avid cyclist and finds the difference in daily annoyance, unpredictability, and stress to be worth it.

  • cjlane

    “There is a spot on the #73 bus where there are 3 stops within 1 block (Campbell, Milwaukee, Western). Those could (and in my opinion should) be consolidated to 1.”

    There are so many routes with these sorts of kookoo stop frequencies. The 80 (IPR) stops 4 times in a ~1000′ around the Brown line station–Hermitage, Ravenswood, El, Wolcott. It’s nuts.