CTA, University improve bus service

By Carolina Bolado

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has announced service enhancements for the #170, #171, and #172 bus routes, which service the area surrounding the University’s main campus and are used by both students and community members.

Service on the #170 will be extended to 7 P.M. on weekdays, while Sunday and holiday hours on the #171 and #172 will also extend to from 4:30 P.M. to 7 P.M. These changes took effect on September 7.

The changes were prompted by the re-opening of the Breckenridge dormitory, according to Deputy Dean of Housing and Dining Services Cheryl Gutman. Breckenridge residents will be assigned to the dining hall at Burton-Judson Courts, and with the old bus schedule, they would have had some difficulty getting to dinner, especially on Sunday evenings.

“We made changes to provide more transportation support to the people that live in Breckenridge, and we thought it would be helpful to them to get to and from meals at B-J,” Gutman said.

Housing and dining officials met with the student transportation committee last year and discussed making changes to the bus routes to support Breckenridge students. They then approached a receptive CTA with their plans.

“CTA’s great to work with. They support us really well,” Gutman said.

Gutman said that Breckenridge was assigned to B-J because housing officials were unsure that they would be able to accommodate another house at Bartlett Dining Commons, where meals, especially lunch, can get very crowded. She also pointed out that B-J is about the same distance from Breckenridge as Bartlett.

CTA also expanded bus service along Lake Shore Drive last month, affecting 14 bus routes on the North and South Sides of the city, including several that service Hyde Park. The changes were a result of analysis of ridership and existing travel patters. “These changes demonstrate that the CTA listens to its customers,” said CTA president Frank Kruesi in a press release.

The popular #6 bus was re-named the Jackson Park Express, and instead of extending all the way to 103rd Street, it now ends its route at 79th Street. The #15 Jeffery Local bus now operates along the same route as the #6 until it reaches 47th Street going north, when it turns around and heads south instead of taking Lake Shore Drive. The #28 Stony Island bus became the Stony Island Express-instead of ending its route at the 47th Street Red Line stop, it now takes Lake Shore Drive to downtown, eventually arriving at Union Station. In addition, the #1 Indiana/Hyde Park route was truncated; it no longer goes south of 51st Street and it now only operates during the weekday rush hour periods.

Hyde Park residents will also have more options to get downtown during the weekday rush hour. The #2 Hyde Park Express route was extended south to 60th Street and east to Lake Park Avenue, and the #4X Cottage Grove Express, which makes limited stops south of Roosevelt Street and goes as far north as Chicago Avenue, was added during rush hour.

CTA spokeswoman Anne McCarthy said the agency has received mostly positive feedback about the changes. “We hope it provides more convenient ways for people to get downtown and more alternatives to driving,” she said.

The moves, which are the first major enhancements to routes in this area in over two decades, are expected to reduce the number of transfers that passengers will need to make. The changes are expected to cost the CTA $2.8 million.

To find out more about the new bus routes, check the CTA’s Web site at