The Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA) board approved a five-year agreement with Northwestern University that will provide university employees, students and faculty with convenient transportation to campus, Ryan Field, Evanston’s central business district and other destinations as well as reduce local traffic congestion by consolidating redundant local transit options.
Beginning this fall, the university is replacing the service provided by its Ryan Field Shuttle with the CTA’s #201 Central/Ridge bus route, which will offer university faculty, students and employees with more frequent service, longer service hours, and extended routing that provides valuable connections between Old Orchard Mall and CTA’s Howard bus and rail terminal.
“This first-of-its-kind agreement with Northwestern University exemplifies the value of public-private partnerships,” said CTA President Dorval Carter Jr. “This benefits not only the school, but also the surrounding communities by making it easier to connect to local communities and neighborhoods and reducing local traffic congestion and harmful emissions as a result of fewer buses traveling many of the same roadways.”
Under the new agreement, which goes into effect September 1, the university has agreed to reimburse CTA for the cost of $2 fares for those who board #201 buses displaying a valid and active Northwestern University-issued ID card. The program will be available to eligible university riders each year between September 1 and June 30 until 2020. For the remaining two months of the year, service along the #201 route will continue to be provided; however, university riders will need to pay the standard CTA bus fare.
The value of the agreement to CTA will be a maximum of $32,000 a month for the first four months of the contract. That amount may be revised upward based on actual ridership — up to $40,000 a month, if both parties agree — for the remainder of the 2015-2016 school year. The maximum amount will be reset twice a year for subsequent school years.
CTA anticipates an additional 600 weekday rides along the #201 bus route as a result of this new agreement.