High-speed bus route opens Monday

November 9, 2012

Scott Kanowsky

(WBEZ/Scott Kanowsky)

(Updated 11/13/12)

A new rapid transit bus route running between Chicago's South Side and the downtown Loop starts Monday, according to CTA officials.

Dubbed the "Jeffery Jump," the service will run between 103rd Street and Metra's Ogilvie and Union Street. A CTA spokesperson said a dedicated lane will be set up on Jeffery Boulevard during rush hour periods—7-9 a.m. northbound and 4-6 p.m. southbound.

"What we're essentially trying to do with bus rapid transit service is to effectively make the bus run more like a train, which is a faster, more reliable service," said Joe Iacobucci, the CTA's manager of strategic planning, in a phone interview.

"By improving this service you’re providing another high-speed, high reliability option for customers that don’t live within walking distance of the L."

Transportation analysts interviewed on Wednesday said a rapid transit bus is a less costly alternative to traditional rail for the city.

CTA officials said a lane of traffic on the right-hand side of the road along the route will be dedicated for the bus— which has raised concerns from local businesses.

"Does having a bus rapid transit lane that rides the right side of the road, does that impact how they get goods delivered, does it impact whether or not consumers can park in front of their business?" said Jordan Snow, an analyst with the Urban Transportation Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago, in a phone interview.

A CTA spokesperson said the agency is dealing with these concerns.

CTA has future plans for rapid bus transit routes in the Loop and along Western and Ashland avenues, according to Iacobucci.