By Richard Wronski/ Chicago Transportation Journal
Pace has unveiled a new strategy to improve its DuPage County service, introducing a brand-new route along busy Ogden Ave. and restructuring several routes serving Metra stations. The plan would significantly increase the number of BNSF trains served by these restructured routes and give riders more flexibility, Pace said.
The strategy targets what transportation experts call the “last mile,” the gap between a commuter’s home and his/her mode of public transit. In suburbs like Naperville and Downers Grove, Pace tries to fill that gap with bus service to and from some of Metra’s most-used stations.
Pace’s plan, which the agency said represents a $1 million investment, could go into effect this June. But first, Pace will hold public hearings to discuss the proposed changes on March 29, 30 and 31. The affected communities include Naperville, Lisle, Downers Grove, Woodridge and Lombard.
These communities largely feed Metra’s busiest line, the BNSF, which carries some 64,000 riders each weekday on 94 trains.
Mike Bolton, Pace’s deputy executive director for strategic services, told the Chicago Transportation Journal that the changes came about through an ongoing analysis of ridership.
Using data from the new Ventra fare card and other programs, Pace found it could combine some portions of existing routes in both the morning and evening to get better ridership on the trips and we also meet more trains, Bolton said.
“We found that we could save some vehicles that we could then use for the Ogden route that we have wanted to put into place since the Southwest DuPage study that we did nearly 10…