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31st Street Bus Signs Installed In Bridgeport

By Ed Komenda | August 12, 2016 6:28am
 Bridgeport residents Tom Gaulke and Alicia Ibarra are stoked about the return of the 31st Street Bus.
Bridgeport residents Tom Gaulke and Alicia Ibarra are stoked about the return of the 31st Street Bus.
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Tom Gaulke

BRIDGEPORT — The Chicago Transit Authority has installed new bus stop signs along 31st Street for the launch of the long-awaited return of the No. 31 bus next month.

The activists who relentlessly urged the CTA to bring back the 31st Street bus were happy to see the signs pop up Thursday morning — a small victory in a five-year fight to reinstate the route.

"We worked for years on this, bringing lack of transportation as an issue to the elected officials in and along the route," said Tom Gaulke, pastor at First Lutheran Church of the Trinity and member of the Bridgeport Alliance. "It's good to see some better access for our seniors, our school kids, our community members come to fruition."

The CTA Board in May voted to revive both the No. 11 bus on Lincoln Avenue, set to start on June 20, and the No. 31 bus, slated to begin in September.

During a six-month pilot program, the No. 31 bus will run every 30 minutes from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. between Ashland and King Drive.

"It's good to have a win for fair transit in our neighborhoods," Gaulke said.

The CTA plans to monitor ridership. If enough people ride the buses, the CTA will restore the routes permanently. The target is 830 rides per day.

In 2012, the CTA restored part of the route as part of a six-month test program and extension of the No. 35 bus to 31st Street west of Kedzie Avenue to Cicero Avenue in Little Village.

During the first four months of the test, the CTA said, ridership was up — with an average of 570 rides on weekdays, 386 on Saturdays and 271 on Sundays — but the numbers were still short of its projections.

In November, after 18 years, the CTA approved a pilot program to reinstate the route.

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