CTA to extend area routes

By Andy Coghlan

Chicago winters may become a little more bearable for Hyde Park residents as some CTA bus routes extend their services beginning this December. CTA recently announced changes to 13 bus routes and two rail lines, including the #N4-Cottage Grove and the #170-University of Chicago/Midway, both of which provide service to the area.

The route #170, which only operates during weekday rush periods (6:40-9:15 a.m. and 3:20-6:15 p.m.), currently runs in a loop around the Midway from Stony Island Avenue to Cottage Grove Avenue via 59th and 60th Streets. The changes will extend #170 service to the recently completed 57th Street Metra Station via Stony Island, 57th Street, Cornell Drive and Midway Plaisance Drive. Hours of operation will remain unchanged.

The #N4 will extend its night owl service (Midnight-5 a.m.) by running saouth on Cottage Grove to 63rd Street, instead of terminating service at 59th Street as it currently does. The extended service will connect riders to the #63 bus, which provides all-hours service to the Orange Line.

The CTA also announced that the Orange Line’s extended hours of operation, begun experimentally last January, will become permanent. Trains will provide service from Midway airport to downtown Chicago between the hours of 3:55 a.m. and 12:55 a.m. Experimental weekend hours will also go into effect, with trains bound for the Loop departing from Midway Airport between 4:35 a.m. until 12:50 a.m.

Changes to all affected bus lines will take effect December 22 and rail changes will begin December 29.

According to a CTA press release, the planned changes are guided by an analysis of customer demand, as well as an effort to reduce travel times and traffic congestion.

“A large part of the CTA’s success in gaining new customers has been our ability to respond to the needs of the communities we serve and anticipate where service adjustments may be needed,” said CTA chairman Valerie Jarret.

In addition to the changes planned for the #170 and #N4, two other routes servicing the South Side will also be extended. The #44 Wallace/Racine route will now travel to the Halsted Orange Line station and the #95E will now include the Stony Island shopping center at 95th and Stony Island on an experimental six-month basis. Changes to these routes are effective for weekdays and weekends.

Students, staff, and faculty of the University and hospital may ride the #170 free if they present identification. In addition, the #171 and #172 are free with a student ID. Standard CTA fares apply on all other routes.