CHICAGO — The future might include a sleek modern express bus whizzing through the center lane on Ashland Avenue and stopping every half mile, but the CTA's Ashland No. 9 bus is not going to be disappearing, a city spokeswoman confirmed.
At a meeting Monday, residents questioned whether the local Ashland No. 9 bus will continue to run in addition to the proposed Bus Rapid Transit.
CTA spokeswoman Lambrini Lukidis told DNAinfo.com Chicago Tuesday that a local bus will run in addition to the new express buses, similar to what is done right now for a pilot project on Jeffery Boulevard on the South Side, where the 'Jeffrey Jump' express bus operates as bus rapid transit and the CTA's No. 15 bus still makes local stops.
Lukidis said the city and CTA are conducting "an ongoing block-by-block analysis from 31st Place to Cortland" that zeroes in on the "Ashland Corridor" and "the plan right now is to run the No. 9 Ashland bus as usual."
Lukidis said it would have to be determined "if the same frequency is needed with a local bus" when the new rapid transit system is implemented.
"We are mindful of the fact some people will still benefit from having most of the current stops. We do understand that with seniors there are people that can't walk long distances," Lukidis said.
When asked if the No. 9 local bus would be sharing the single lane of traffic relegated to cars and trucks, Lukidis said "it could possibly share either lane, or the same lane [as cars]."
"The best way I can answer is that as CTA and CDOT continues the block by block analysis we will have a better understanding of where the local bus will be in relation to the Center Running plan and how frequently a local service will be offered," she added in a written statement.
Under the proposed plan, a lane of traffic for cars would be removed in each side of Ashland Avenue to allow for a dedicated center express bus lane, cutting the number of vehicle lanes in half.
"The main message is that we do understand the local bus is important to give more frequent stops for people using the bus within the corridor that benefit from having the bus stopping at more stops for shorter distances," Lukidis said.
"We understand people have a lot of questions and [Bus Rapid Transit] is a new concept for Chicago. [The city] and CTA want feedback and understand people have questions," she added.