Express CTA bus service to return along Ashland, Western

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - For CTA riders who rely on the #9 Ashland or the #49 Western buses every day to get to and from work, the addition of express buses later this year could cut as much as 22 minutes off their commute each way with the buses only stopping every half a mile or so.

That announcement Tuesday by the CTA was more than good news for some.

“I work on 79th and I live in Forest Park,” said Florita Bryant, who was asked what it would mean for her to have express buses. “That means Jesus answered my prayer,” she said laughing and clapping her hands.

"It would mean a lot," she added.

The CTA admits the service on these two major thoroughfares has not always been great.

“The service isn't always as fast as we would like for it to be and delays sometimes occur due to various traffic conditions that are beyond CTA's control,” said CTA President Dorval Carter Jr.

In addition to adding the express buses during rush hour, the city also plans to equip them with transit signal priority technology which would allow those buses to trigger longer green lights and shorter red lights.

“This is an investment that allows us to run a more efficient system and allows the commuter to also be more efficient with their time,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

It was welcome news for many riders, even those who won’t take the express buses.

“It'll be nice. I still only ride the bus around six minutes, in all, so an express isn't something that I need, but I'm sure it could help a lot of other people,” said Mike Comiskey.

In fact, the CTA estimates that riders who take the local buses will also save time, as much as 12 minutes, because fewer people would be using them.

For some, the thought of having a little extra time each day was welcome news.

“More time to have self-care, I work in a psych ward so I would appreciate the 20 to 30 minutes, no 20 minutes would be great, yea, I would love it,” said Cassy Baxter.

This would be the city’s first reintroduction of express service, which had been phased out in 2010 due to a drop in public funding.

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