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Lawmakers tout expansion of Pace Bus on Shoulders program

Pace wants make buses faster Milwaukee Avenue Niles by coordinating traffic signals when buses are appraching.  |  File

Pace wants to make buses faster on Milwaukee Avenue in Niles by coordinating traffic signals when buses are appraching. | File

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Updated: September 13, 2014 6:25AM



Rep. Bob Rita, D-Blue Island, joined Gov. Quinn and other leaders Monday afternoon in Chicago to tout new legislation which allows the Pace Bus on Shoulders program to expand to other highways in the Southland.

Bus on Shoulders was initially a five-year pilot project. Now it expands into other major highways and tollways in Chicago and as well as the Southland.

Pace’s Bus on Shoulders program was created in 2011. It was designed to provide quicker, more effective transportation by allowing buses to travel on shoulders on Interstate 55 during peak traffic periods.

The law is supported by IDOT, Illinois State Police and the Illinois Toll Highway Authority.

Shoulders can be used for Pace buses based on certain guidelines, and the shoulders remain available to motorists in the event of an emergency.

According to Pace, plans have been made to add the program to Interstate 90 in 2016 and possibly expand it to Interstate 94, Interstate 290 and Interstate 57.

According to a survey done by Pace, commuters were satisfied with the service. Usage on one route grew 446 percent and the other 129 percent since it started. Also, there have been only two minor accidents. On-time performance shot up from 68 percent into the mid-90 percent range since Bus on Shoulders began.

Rep. Rita believes the expansion benefits everyone involved.

“Bus on Shoulders has been a great idea since I sponsored the original bill. I’m glad to help expand it to help more people,” Rita said. “I want to thank the governor and my colleagues in the Legislature for their strong support and I look forward to working with Pace to make it grow and even more successful.”

The bill drew overwhelming support in the General Assembly. House Bill 5664 passed in the House 98-0 and the Senate 55-0 in the spring.



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