DOWNTOWN — The CTA will extend a pilot period for service between Western and Fullerton on the No. 11 Lincoln bus.
The pilot began in June and has seen a ridership of about 500 a day — but the aim is to get to 1,500, said Carole Morey, the CTA's chief planning officer, at a Wednesday meeting. It will cost $385,000 for the route to operate through the six-month extension of the pilot, which is scheduled to end in June 2017.
The CTA hopes doing more in-house marketing for the route can help shore up numbers, and organizers are working with the community and aldermen to promote the route, Morey said.
"We believe that the pilot could benefit from additional marketing by both the CTA and the neighborhood," Morey told the Chicago Transit Board during the meeting.
The board approved the extension, but Chairman Terry Peterson asked Morey to come back to the board in February or March so they could "check in" on the pilot.
Extending the pilot means the CTA can review the route's ridership during all seasons, according to a CTA news release.
The extension on the route takes riders to more than 40 additional bus stops, the CTA said. On the extended route, riders go from the Western Brown Line stop to the Red, Purple and Brown lines stop at Fullerton and then goes north at Webster and Lincoln, the CTA said.
The pilot runs 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays. Supporters of the pilot have criticized those hours, saying they're setting the pilot "up to fail," but the CTA said the hours were based on feedback from riders.
After this pilot's time is up in June, the CTA will decide if it will extend the pilot again, end it or make the extension of the service permanent.
The No. 11 route originates north at Howard/McCormick and during the pilot's set hours travels south to Fullerton. Outside of the pilot's schedule, the route terminates at the Western Brown Line station.
The former No. 11 Lincoln/Sedgwick bus tallied a weekday ridership average of 5,526 in 2012, it's last full year of operation.
In 2015, the shortened No. 11 route averaged 1,671 weekday riders. The No. 37 Sedgwick bus, which runs from the Fullerton Red/Brown Line Station to the Clinton Blue Line station, averaged 1,681 weekday riders.
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