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Metra is gathering public input before creating a pilot program designed to improve connections between its trains and the Pace bus system.
The project’s focus is to improve access to jobs and schools for south suburban Chicago commuters, make transportation more affordable and convenient, and simplify transfers between the trains and buses, according to a Metra press release.
Potential improvements include lower fares, free or low cost transfers between transit providers, increased service frequency, faster trips, better service alignment, station upgrades, better parking and the availability of car-sharing and shuttles to Metra stations.
The pilot project stems from a Cook County, Illinois, public transportation study that found southern Cook County had a greater population loss, a lower median income, a higher unemployment rate and slower job growth than the rest of Cook County. The number of jobs accessible via transit is lower than for other parts of the county, while the average commute time is longer, Metra officials said.
Ridership on the Metra Electric and Rock Island lines have also fallen faster than on other Metra lines.
To gather input, Metra and Pace bus officials will hold two public meetings June 18 in Harvey, Illinois.