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CTA cuts 12 bus routes, adds more L train runs and service to 48 bus routes

Updated: September 12, 2012 10:47PM

The CTA on Wednesday approved a plan targeting overcrowding on trains and buses, which will add more service to 48 bus routes and six rail lines, but cut 12 bus routes by December.

It means the rush-hour commute on Blue, Red Brown, Purple, Orange and Green Line trains will be roomier beginning Dec. 16. The CTA says that equates to 10,000 more rides each weekday. More trains will also run on the Blue, Brown and Red lines during the weekend.

More service will also be added to 48 bus routes, described as the busiest and most crowded routes in the city.

The vote comes a week after a public meeting at CTA Headquarters brought out more than 160 people, with more than 70 riders voicing concerns. Most complained about the discontinuation of the No. 145 and No. 11 buses. Several argued that the 145 bus — which runs from Ravenswood to downtown — is often packed, while other buses that also end up on Michigan Avenue are half empty.

Others criticized the transit agency for moving along with the plan so quickly and without alternatives. Prior to the board’s vote, several affected riders asked the board to reconsider the plan.

“I don’t know how it could hurt to spend a little more time to look to see where there might be other savings to save this bus,” said Allan Mellis, about the No. 11 route. “It’s not like this is low ridership. I would understand that. … This is a very highly used route that you are recommending to put people on an overcrowded rail line. It makes no sense.”

Others argued senior citizens and the disabled would have a hard time getting up to train platforms.

“I don’t take the Red Line downtown because it’s 50 steps up to that platform and my doctor’s office is seven blocks from the Red Line,” said Martin Tangora. “ … If I take the Wilson-Michigan bus, then it’s door to door.”

The CTA says the 12 bus routes to be cut only account to two percent of total ridership and the service additions will be used by more than 76 percent of CTA customers.

CTA President Forrest Claypool said ridership numbers weren’t the only factor contributing to the cut bus routes. He says the transit agency also followed federal guidelines to cater to the more vulnerable riders, senior citizens and disabled riders.

“If we’re going to find additional service to deal with the overcrowding, where people are being treated like sardines on some bus routes and some rail routes, we have to make the hard decisions in order to find the resources to provide that improved service for the vast, vast majority of our customers,” Claypool said.

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