LINCOLN SQUARE — The fight over the No. 11 Lincoln Avenue bus rages on nearly two years after the Chicago Transit Authority eliminated the Western-to-Fullerton leg of the route.
The latest salvo in the ongoing battle: recently released results of a survey which show that the vast majority of the 2,500 respondents disagree with the CTA's position that the affected portion of the route is already served by the Brown Line.
More than 85 percent of respondents to the survey, conducted by the office of Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th), rejected the CTA's assertion that the Brown Line is an acceptable substitute for the bus.
Patty Wetli says the CTA isn't budging about bringing back the bus:
Another 72 percent of respondents said elimination of the bus route has affected how frequently they patronize businesses along Lincoln Avenue.
"The response is almost uniform — elimination of the bus has made it harder for them to get around the community," said Pawar, who has campaigned for the return of the route.
"As a city, we take three steps forward in terms of progressive public policies and then we make decisions that take us three steps back," the alderman said. "I'm a proponent of transit-oriented development, and then you remove the transit."
CTA spokesman Brian Steele said the agency has "no plans to make any additional changes to the bus service that is currently in place" and believes "the public is well served by the extensive rail and bus options nearby."
According to Steele, Brown Line stations from Western to Southport have experienced an average increase of nearly 7 percent in station entries since the bus route was cut.
"What's happened since late 2012, when the changes were put into place, is exactly what we predicted — riders found alternative transportation on the Brown Line," he said.
Furthermore, Steele questioned the survey's methodology.
"It's impossible to know how many unique individuals responded to it, since anyone could take the survey as many times as they wanted to," Steele said.
Pawar countered that the survey only accepted one IP address per household.
The alderman said he will continue his efforts to bring back the bus route.
"We're going to keep plugging away; we're not going to give up," said Pawar. "When you make a mistake, you admit it and you fix it. Just restore the bus service."
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