Reliability of new Pulse buses may attract more transit users
by BRIAN NADIG
The expected on-time reliability of the planned Pace express bus service on Milwaukee Avenue between the Jefferson Park CTA Terminal and the Golf Mill shopping center in Niles should attract more public transportation users to the area, suburban bus service officials said.
The buses for the Pulse express service will feature "signal priority" technology that is designed to reduce the waiting time at red lights, said Pace community relations representative Martin Sandoval II. Pace officials gave an update on the service, which is expected to begin next summer, at the Nov. 9 meeting of the Jefferson Park Chamber of Commerce.
"The buses will be able to communicate with the traffic lights, making the green light a couple of seconds longer but the red light shorter," said Sandoval. "It will make the bus routes more reliant and on time."
Pace media relations manager Maggie Daly Skogsbakken said that the bus ridership on Milwaukee is projected to increase by 10 percent or more due to the enhanced reliability which Pulse brings. She said that people will be more willing to take a bus if they feel it will keep on schedule.
"It gets people to work on time," Skogsbakken said. "Milwaukee Avenue is one of our busiest routes because of access to the Blue Line (in Jefferson Park)."
The Pulse route will make stops about every half mile compared to every couple of blocks by Pace the Route 270 bus, which will continue to operate after Pulse starts.
The Pulse line will have eight stops between Jefferson Park and Golf Mill. Those stops are at Central Avenue, Austin Avenue, Devon Avenue, Touhy Avenue, Harlem Avenue, Oakton Street, Main Street and Dempster Street.
The bus stops will include 12-inch raised platforms to allow for easier boarding and heated pavement to assist with snow removal. The stops also will feature heated shelters, which in some instances will have artwork featuring the logos of local chambers, and a vertical sign, whose digital display will give real-time arrival information for the buses.
Construction on some of the Pulse stops, which also will be used for other Pace and CTA buses, recently began in Niles.
Meanwhile, the Pulse buses will include WiFi, USB charging stations and bike racks. "It will be a big purple bus that says ‘Pulse,’" Sandoval said.
Pace also has begun planning for the implementation of a Pulse line that will operate between Evanston and O’Hare International Airport, running primarily along Dempster Avenue.
It also was reported that in some areas Pace would allow riders to use a transfer for their return trip, as long as it occurs within 2 hours of the initial ride in the opposite direction.