HYDE PARK — The route 170 CTA bus will stop running in May because the University of Chicago is pulling its subsidy for the route.
The university has paid all the costs to run the bus route around the Midway Plaisance with stops at 55th-56th-57th and 59th street Metra stations since 2013 and has decided to stop the route on May 27 because of declining ridership.
On average 314 people each day ride the bus, which runs during morning and evening rush hours on weekdays, according to Jeff Tolman, a spokesman for the CTA.
The 171, 172 and 192 routes will not be affected, according to the CTA and the university.
The 170 was expected to cost $477,036 to run from September through August this year and is by far the least popular of the four routes the university pays the CTA to run in Hyde Park and Kenwood.
Students and employees of the university ride the four routes for free and have in recent years ridden the 171 and 172 buses in numbers easily four times the rates of the 170, with the 172 averaging 1,320 people riding on weekdays.
Since 2000, the university has subsidized the cost to the CTA to operate the buses in the neighborhood. But in recent years, the university has asked bus services be cut back, eliminating a bus from campus to Lakeview and another to the Red and Green line stations, as the CTA asked the university to pay increasingly more of the share of running the buses.
In 2012, it seemed likely the that all subsidized routes would be eliminated when the CTA demanded the university pay all the costs to keep the buses going, which was estimated to cost more than $1 million a year, with the CTA allowed to raise the rates by up to 3 percent every year.
At the time, the university said it was considering ditching its partnership with the CTA entirely and expanding its private shuttle service instead. But in May 2013, the university agreed to the CTA’s terms to keep the buses running until at least 2018.
A spokeswoman for the university was not immediately able to answer questions about the long-term plans for the bus routes as contract negotiations restart with the CTA next year.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: