ROSELAND — An express bus that takes South Siders to Brookfield Zoo will return next year after it was almost eliminated, a Cook County Board commissioner said.
Pace began offering a summer express bus taking riders from the CTA's 95th Street/Dan Ryan terminal to the zoo in suburban Brookfield in 2014. The route now runs a handful of times a day on Saturdays and once on Sundays from late May to early September.
Commissioner Stanley Moore said before the express bus route was added three years ago, people would spend two to three hours on public transportation to get to the zoo.
“I said, 'That’s unacceptable,' so I met with Pace,” he said. “They agreed to do a dedicated bus line.”
Bus route 772 now gets South Siders to the zoo in 45 minutes. But earlier this year, Moore said he was told the route might get cut because of lower ridership.
“After a couple of years Pace came and said, 'This program is not working out. We’re going to have to cancel the bus line,'” Moore said. “They said ridership was down and that people weren’t using the bus line.”
So Moore said he and his staff went to community events and churches to spread the word about the service, and they also made more people aware of the bus through social media.
This summer Pace Route 772 carried nearly 3,000 riders to the zoo at a cost of $1.75 each way, he said.
Pace spokeswoman Maggie Daly Skogsbakken was unable to provide ridership numbers, but she said there are no plans to discontinue the service.
Any changes or eliminations of routes would be presented at a public hearing and approved by the Pace board, Skogsbakken said.
“We do monitor all routes for ridership and productivity, and if a route fails to meet our performance standards, it is possible that a route may be restructured or discontinued,” she said.
Pace also operates routes 770 and 771, which travel between the zoo and the CTA Blue, Green and Pink lines.