CTA attempts to attract more riders on public transportation - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

CTA attempts to attract more riders on public transportation

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Getting more people to take public transportation is a goal of every world class city.

Chicago is no exception.

Yet, we still have far more people who won't ride a bus or a train than those who do.

FOX 32's Robin Robinson takes a look at some of the reasons why.

How many times have you been stuck in your car in traffic and said "I could get there faster on foot?" Well, what if you could get there faster on the bus? Just one of the arguments city leaders hope to be able to make to turn more drivers into riders.

Terrible rush hour traffic jams, the down side of more people going to work. However, if enough of these drivers would take public transit, it could be a lane changer.

"There's people on the bubble, and it won't take a lot to get a couple hundred thousand outta their cars, and that's the market we gotta be going after right now," DePaul University Transit Expert, Joseph Schwieterman, said.

What would it take to pry people out of the driver's seat?

"There's nothing about public transportation I don't like, I just have to be able to move around fast because time is money," said one Chicago resident.

Saving time and money is the claim behind a controversial plan for busy Ashland Avenue.

BRT, bus rapid transit, would cost $160 million, and that's not even the controversy. It's the reduction of driving lanes for cars, one lane in each direction, for 16 miles from Irving Park Road to 95th Street.

A CTA video explains how it would fill a need on the busiest bus route in the city.

One driver on Ashland Avenue said, "I would be very against that, I drive around all day and I would be very against that actually."

What some see as visionary, a way to make more people choose the bus and reduce gridlock, others think is a nightmare of one driving lane, no left turns, no passing, and, by the way, nothing will get them on that bus.

However, people who are in the habit of public transportation are just as adamant about not driving. The city does have on existing BRT line, The Jeffrey Jump, which has operated on the south side for 18 months.

Yet, that seems to get too congested too.

During the morning rush, that's just what happened to dozens of riders waiting at the 67th street stop for the "Jeffrey Jump" express downtown.

So it will take more than 'express' service to attract new riders.

"Now people have cars with GPS and heated seats and cellphones and Bluetooth and they want something more than that mode of last resort," Schwieterman said.

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