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CTA introduces Chicago Card Express Lane

The CTA today announced a new boarding plan that they say will allow customers using a Chicago Card to board faster.

A one-month trial run will test out that theory on 10 bus routes and at eight rail stations.

The Sun-Times reports: The bus routes are No. 151 Sheridan, No. 144 Marine/Michigan Express, No. 145 Wilson/Michigan Express, No. 156 LaSalle, No. 126 Jackson, No. 6 Jackson Park Express, No. 29 State and No. 3 King Drive.

The rail stations are Howard, Chicago, 79th and 95th/Dan Ryan on the Red Line; Jefferson Park on the Blue Line, and Clark/Lake, Washington/State, and Washington/Dearborn in the Loop.

Chicago's ABC-7 news team reports that "for the next month, 10 buses will have two lanes for boarding. On the right will be for cash and regular fare cards and on the left is designated for customers paying with the Chicago Card." A the eight rail stations, one turnstile will be set aside for the exclusive use of Chicago Card and Chicago Card Plus customers.

Through July 31, the CTA is waiving the $5 fee for those who buy a Chicago Card or Chicago Card Plus.

Comments

How is this going to work on the buses, where you have all those jerks that insist on exiting at the front door?

Okay, at the stations I can see this working without a problem and I'm all for it, although the turnstiles themselves still slow you down even with the card. But on trains? What are they going to do - install a second farebox to read the cards? And how are they going to enforce it?

I have a Chicago Card but I barely use it because almost all of my CTA travel is rush hour to and from the train. And since the cards aren't smart enough to know when the express buses (or even 60/156/157 or whatever other bus I end up riding from the train station) is charging the reduced commuter fare, I still have to pay cash. Kinda makes you wonder what's the point.

FYI - a CTA employee was handing out papers at the Clark/Lake station this morning about the Go Lanes. The 8 stations it mentions are at:
Red Line -- Howard, Chicago, Washington/State, 79th, and 95th.
Blue Line -- Jefferson Park, Washington/
Loop elevated -- Clark/Lake.

FYI - a CTA employee was handing out papers at the Clark/Lake station this morning about the Go Lanes. The 8 stations it mentions are at:
Red Line -- Howard, Chicago, Washington/State, 79th, and 95th.
Blue Line -- Jefferson Park, Washington/
Loop elevated -- Clark/Lake.

I can't get the Go lane to work at Chicago Avenue.

Cheryl, maybe at Chicago Avenue they need to call it the STOP lane. Some of the readers on the L station turnstiles NEVER work.

I wonder if it would be worth waiting for a 144 or 145 this afternoon to see if there really are two lines. There's a night game at Wrigley, it's not as if I'll get home before 7:30 anyway. Usually if I'm taking a bus up the Drive, I just get on the first one that's not a 147.

Looking forward to see this working on the 126...but what's gonna happen to the stroller/wheelchair/4-foot-wide shopping bag/all of the above at the same time lane?

They defititely should have put this in on Grand instead of Chicago on the Red Line. The Grand station is always backed up, especially on Cubs game nights. Chicago is a spacious mansion in comparison!

Now that I think about it, they should really expand or at least reconfigure the Grand station.

They could really expand all the stations in the downtown area. When I'm lazy I take the blue line from clark/lake to washington. The clark/lake platform had two trains that let out at the same time. 300 people trying to get up a tiny escalator and tiny staircase...it looked like the Eisenhower at rush hour. And at the Washington stop there's only 2 turnstiles.

Instead of putting more potentially defective features on a bus..how about we fix the broken buses that we have now. How many other people have been bruised on their leg from waving their chicago card and walking into a turnstile that didn't move?

There was a CTA rep on the 145 this morning explaining how this is going to work to the driver. They're moving the touchpad from where they are to the left as you enter the bus. Those with cards will still have to wait if someone is paying cash for their cash to register in the box before using the touchpad.

hey cmama, be glad you're female and it's only your leg that gets bruised from a locked turnstile!

I saw this in use on the 156 yesterday night. It's a good idea, but the door is still a bit narrow for 2 discrete lines to form (especially when some of the passengers are unaware of the setup). Regular CTA riders will eventually get it, but there will always be a handful of tourist/infrequent riders who unwittingly disrupt the 2-line arrangement.

Hm... I was on the 134 bus on Tuesday and they had the new Express Lane. Have to agree with Tom -- I don't see how this is going to 'speed up' the boarding process.

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