- Post 12 November 2012
A scaled-back version of an express commuting service called bus rapid transit is scheduled to debut Monday between the Loop and the South Side.
The Jeffery Jump will operate on the No. 14 Jeffery Express route, which travels between 103rd Street and Stony Island Avenue, and Washington and Jefferson streets downtown. The double-long Jeffery Jump buses will be wrapped in blue to give the service a distinctive appearance, officials said.
From 7-9 a.m. and 4-6 p.m., No. 14 Jeffery Jump buses will use bus-only lanes on part of the route, between 67th and 83rd streets, cutting the travel time by up to seven minutes from one end of the route to the other, transit officials said.
Regular fares will apply. Bus stops will be located every half-mile on average between 67th and 103rd streets to speed up the trips, officials said.
But the new service is being launched Monday without key elements that constitute true bus rapid transit, officials said. The missing components include full-time bus-only lanes; traffic signals linked to the buses to extend green lights for them; passenger prepaid boarding at bus stops equipped with platforms that are level with the bus floor; and bus stops in the median, instead of at the curb.
Early next year, the CTA and the Chicago Department of Transportation will expand the Jeffery Jump bus rapid transit experiment to provide extended green lights for buses between 73rd and 84th streets, officials said. In addition, a bypass lane will open at Jeffery Boulevard and Anthony Avenue to allow buses to advance through the intersection ahead of other traffic, officials said.
The CTA and CDOT are completing plans for more robust bus rapid transit service on Ashland and Western avenues, between Howard and 95th streets when funding becomes available; and in the central Loop in 2014. Long-term plans envision a 50-mile bus rapid transit network, increasing average bus speeds by as much as 48 percent over regular bus routes, officials said.