CTA may ax late-night bus along Purple Line route

(Mariam Gomaa/The Daily Northwestern)

(Mariam Gomaa/The Daily Northwestern)

Amanda Gilbert, Reporter

The late-night bus substitute for the Purple Line may not be available for Northwestern students this school year due to the Chicago Transit Authority’s plan to ease overcrowding on some routes.

The 201 Night Route operates from 1 to 4:30 a.m. weekdays and 2 to 5 a.m. weekends. The bus runs between Central Street and Howard Street when the Purple Line El train is not in service.

The CTA’s Crowding Reduction Plan will restructure bus and rail services due to growing ridership in the greater Chicago area.

CTA ridership has been on the rise for 16 months, adding 22 million new bus and rail riders since June 2011, according to the transit authority.

The plan intends to address this growing demand by allocating an additional $16 million to bus and rail service.

NU transportation manager Marge Grzeszczuk said several NU shuttle routes may also be discontinued because they duplicate existing service or have very low ridership.

“The university shuttle system is popular and ridership continues to grow,” Grzeszczuk said. “We are trying to give the best possible service to the student university.”

CTA spokeswoman Katherine Hosinski said the average weekday ridership on the 201 Night Route is 46 people, which means each trip served four to six people.

Both NU and CTA officials decided to cancel the route, Hosinski said.

“NU Transportation Center analyzed CTA’s plan, using ridership numbers, patterns and route configurations, as well as the availability of other transit options,” Hosinski said. “The center’s analysis confirmed the conclusions that were reached by the CTA.”

Grzeszczuk said there is no replacement bus service from Howard to Central in the works.

“At this time we offer the Evanston Loop that runs until about three in the morning, and some of that mirrored what the 201 did,” she said. “We are not planning anything because we don’t know what impact changes will have.”