CTA: Ashland, Western express bus routes return Monday

CHICAGO (STMW) - Bus riders can expect smoother commutes on two of Chicago’s busiest main arteries with the return of two express bus routes starting Monday morning, according to the CTA.

The #X9 Ashland and #X49 routes will run from about 5 to 9 a.m. during the weekday morning rush and 3 to 6 p.m. in the afternoon, making stops every half-mile and at major transfer points. The transit agency says it could save riders up to 17 minutes on trips along each route.

The #9 and #49 routes will continue making all local stops along Ashland and Western. Some of the least used stops have been eliminated, which will save local riders about seven minutes, the CTA says.

The transit agency announced over the summer that the express routes — which operate from Berwyn south to 79th Street on Western and from Irving Park to 95th on Ashland — would be restored Dec. 21 after they were slashed due to budget cuts in 2010.

More than 55,000 rides are taken every weekday on each route, which both have ranked as two of the worst in the city for bus bunching and gaps, according to the CTA.

The agency is slated to begin work in 2016 on a transit signal project designed to let late buses communicate with traffic signals to hold green lights longer or to shorten red lights so that the buses can catch up. That project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2017 and would save riders another five minutes per trip, the CTA says.

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