GRAND CROSSING — Jackie Buckley was singing the praises of faster CTA bus service that started across the city Monday, including the No. 4 Cottage Grove bus.
"Normally it takes 45 minutes for the bus to come, but today it only took 30 minutes," said Buckley, a 73-year-old widow who was able to hit the Dollar Store, the bank and do other shopping — all on the bus. "As time goes on, I hope it takes less time to get here" to 79th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue.
The faster service on the No. 4 was part of the CTA's Crowd Reduction Plan that added buses to 48 routes, including in Grand Crossing, Chatham, Auburn Gresham and Englewood on the South Side. CTA officials said the extra service — mainly during morning and evening rush hour on the most crowded bus routes and rail lines — would reduce the rush hour peak crowd loads by as much as 15 percent.
The added service is a response to growing ridership on buses and trains, CTA officials said
Bus routes beefed up as part of the transit agency's Crowd Reduction Plan include the No. 3, 29 and 87, which all run through Chatham; the No. 7 and 75, which run in Greater Grand Crossing; the No. 9 and 8, which run on Halsted and in Auburn Gresham; and the No. 63, which runs in Englewood.
Martin Giles, 44, takes the No. 9 Ashland every day to work from his home in Englewood.
"More buses means I can get home faster, which is fine with me," Giles said. "But it won't do any good to have more buses if they are all running slow."
Other riders want the CTA to go even further. Jeannettes Flenon, 68, who rides the 79th Street bus daily to and from her Auburn Gresham home, wondered whether a bus could be set aside for seniors.
"A lot of times if there are teenagers on the bus, I will wait for the next bus even though I know that means another hour," said Flenon, who is disabled. "I wish there was a bus only seniors could ride because then I would not have to hear of that profanity these young people use."