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More Proposed Pace Cuts


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Not only is the #616 on the chopping block, I have now learned there going to have a hearing on the proposed elimination of all midday service on the #240 and #241. They are wanting them to run AM/PM rush hours only. Also they want to decrease frequencies on the #209 going from 30 minutes apart to 60 minutes apart (I believe that was only in the midday weekday) Also they want to decrease Saturday service on the #209 changing it from now running 30 minutes apart and changing it to 40 minutes apart. The hearing is supposed to be Sept 8th at Park Ridge public library.

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Notice is hereby given that Pace, the Suburban Bus Division of the Regional Transportation

Authority will hold a public hearing on the following routes:

Route 471 Highland Park - Deerfield - proposed restructuring due to consistent pattern of low ridership.

Route 472 Highland Park - Highwood - proposed restructuring due to consistent pattern of low ridership.

Route 473 Highland Park - Northbrook Court - proposed discontinuation due to consistent pattern of low ridership, with productive parts of this route to be incorporated into Route 471 and 472.

Dates and Locations

Monday, September 20, 2010

4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Highland Park City Hall

2nd Floor Mayor's Conference Room

1707 St. Johns Ave

Highland Park, IL 60035

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a public hearing on the following routes:

... Highland Park

I saw that Highland Park was on the agenda for today's board meeting, and in fact the notice beats the meeting.

In effect, this goes back to about 2000, when Pace was first starting to post routes that did not meet recovery ratio, and my impression was that the cutback was then prevented by Highland Park making up the difference.

Although there are old Pioneer Press retrospectives about throngs of persons riding from Highland Park to Deerbrook, that certainly hasn't been the case in the last 15 years. There seem to be a few people getting on or off at the Metra station, but other than that, I doubt that Highland Park needs much more than community transit vehicles, especially since Opportunity, Inc. closed. Maybe this gets restructured down to the two hybrid buses.

There also seems to be the issue that Highland Park keeps this going to keep its employees employed.

The site is close enough that I might attend for the informational or entertainment value.

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I find it interesting that Pace in general is ramping up potential service cuts and restructuring routes. Is this always the case this time of the year with the budget looming?

Usually not, especially since they said that the 2011 budget was holding the line. The 2010 budget seemed the exception, and, at that time, the route hearings were at the budget hearings.

However, this sort of sounds like the situation in 2000, as I mentioned before. Pace gets the recovery ratio shakes and starts putting routes up for hearing. Besides Highland Park, I think most of Elgin was posted at that time.

The thing that may be new this time is that Pace may be realizing that its recovery ratio games (such as adding Schaumburg* and Downers Grove** to its budget to make the ratio look better, or counting capital cost of contracting as passenger revenue***) are over. As also shown by the 714 debate, if a route is not making productivity standards, it goes on the block.


* Recovery ratio increased by having Schaumburg foot 100% of the cost of the Trolley, even though fares were not collected. Of course, Schaumburg subsequently cut back service to 3 days. This "offer" was also made to Gurnee, which was refused.

** Until then, Downers Grove operated the Grove Commuter Shuttle independently, charged a higher fare, and subsidized it. Not much changed, except that Pace gave Downers Grove a small subsidy, and then put the numbers on its books.

*** PACE, Suburban Bus Div. of Regional Transp. Authority v. Regional Transp. Authority, 346 Ill. App. 3d 125, 803 N.E.2d 13, 280 Ill. Dec. 783 (2d Dist. 2003).

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Probably more responsive to Rotjohn's question is the following from the August Minutes:

Chairman Kwasneski commented that everyone's objective is to enhance Pace's system. He asked Mr. Ross and Mr. Bolton to begin identifying poor performing routes once again and find alternatives for the riders. They then need to be brought to the Board for evaluation and decision making. By doing this, some dollars may be freed up to improve the system in the year to come.

Also, surprising is that, for the first time I know, the public comment portion was primarily about suburban service. I had previously noted a Passenger Notice that some 366 trips were leaving two minutes later, and these minutes note that a rider stated that there were problems making connections from other lines to 366 at Chicago Heights. Apparently, Pace does listen to that kind of comment.

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As I indicated I would, I tooled down to the Highland Park hearing.

Essentially what is proposed is:

  • 473 is eliminated as indicated.
  • 471 would pick up the part from Deerbrook to Northbrook Court. The part of 471 that goes via Berkely and Ridge would be eliminated, so essentially direct via Deerfield Road.
  • 472 would be extended on Park Ave. West to Target (short of U.S. 41). Also, the E and P routings on the current schedule would be eliminated. They said, as usual, that they didn't have any schedules yet, but one could make an inference that since the E trips are to get intermediate trips back to the terminal quicker, they probably are being cut.

Since I didn't have any skin in the "the bus now stops in front of my house, but won't" game, I didn't register to speak, and, after perusing the charts, took off.

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