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Chicago Transit Authority adds service to reduce crowding

Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) officials on Wednesday announced a “major initiative” to reduce crowding and meet growing ridership by adding train and bus service to high-demand routes across the agency’s network.

The additions are expected to reduce the time between trains and buses and lower peak crowd loads by 10 percent to 15 percent in most situations, CTA officials said in a prepared statement.

Through the first half of 2012, the agency’s rail ridership increased 6.2 percent compared with the same 2011 period, the second-highest growth rate among major U.S. transit agencies, CTA officials said. Bus ridership increased 2.6 percent.

The CTA is working with the Northwestern University Transportation Center to develop a comprehensive plan to restructure routes and schedules based on changing ridership patterns. CTA also has proposed discontinuing a small number of routes that duplicate existing service or have low ridership. Service will be added to some areas or “beefed up” where demand has outstripped the allocation of trains and buses, CTA officials said.

“[Our] goal is to provide a comfortable and efficient experience for customers, as well as accommodate growing ridership, which has risen for 16 consecutive months, adding 22 million new riders since June of 2011,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool. “This route restructuring, based on comprehensive review of the entire transit system, is long overdue and is the first system-wide, holistic review of CTA’s bus and rail service in 15 years. Through the strategic restructuring effort, CTA will realize $16 million of savings — all of which will be reinvested into the additional service on the highest-demand and most-crowded routes.”

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More News from 8/23/2012