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Dear Editor:

Jon Hilkevitch’s (Chicago Traffic Among Worst; August 26, 2015) leaves no room for doubt: regional residents should take CTA, Metra or Pace around our region.  As the economy rebounds, so do cars on the road and precious time is lost in traffic jams and parking lots.

In our region, we’re lucky to have a choice.  Downtown Chicago’s Loop Link will create dedicated bus lanes from Union and Ogilvie Stations to Michigan Avenue, a project expected to increase bus reliability and improve bus travel times by 25 percent for 30,000 daily riders.  The CTA just announced it’s reintroducing rush hour express service on its Ashland and Western bus routes, a move that could save up to 22 minutes along each route.

Metra is also working for riders, as its Englewood Flyover eliminated up to 7,500 hours of Metra delays each year on the Rock Island District. And Pace’s Bus on Shoulder (BOS) service, developed with the RTA and IDOT, is another bright spot for public transit in the region. BOS has increased on-time performance to the mid-90% range and ridership is six times higher than before the start of the program.

We inherited an excellent system and we are doing all we can to maintain and even enhance it.

Our system provides about two million passenger trips each workday.  Nearly 40% of regional households use public transportation at least once a week and 62% of people commuting to the Loop use transit.  Last year, Metra had its second highest year for ridership and “L” ridership reached an all-time high.

Public transportation saves riders time and money and continues to be vital to the economy of our region and our lives.  Today, a two-person household can save more than $12,100 a year by downsizing to one car, significant in tough economic times.  As we say in our regional ad campaign, Ride On.

Kirk Dillard
Chairman, Regional Transportation Authority

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