The board at Chicago’s Pace approved staff recommendation for a balanced and stable 2020 budget that includes no general fare increases for suburban service or regional ADA paratransit service. Staff's recommendation for the elimination of poor preforming services was postponed until alternative service recommendations are fully developed.
"Based on public input received at hearings last month, we have decided to postpone asking the Board of Directors to approve any service eliminations until we can identify specific solutions to maintaining access to public transportation in those corridors," said Pace Executive Director Rocky Donahue. "Our traditional fixed route service is not working in these areas, but other transit models might."
One of those models may be partnerships with ride-share companies. Pace's board approved two intergovernmental agreements for grant funding from the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) and Cook County, each valued at $125,000. The grants will support two pilot projects, one at the Pace Harvey Transportation Center and the other between the O'Hare Airport South Cargo Area and the CTA Blue Line Rosemont Station.
These pilots aim to test the viability of using Transportation Network Companies to provide critical first-mile, last-mile connections in areas where conventional fixed-route bus service is not always available. The pilot projects will test service during overnight hours to help third-shift employees get to work. They will last for one year, or until funding has been depleted. The projects' cost is expected to be funded entirely by the two external grants. The agency hopes to launch the pilots early next year.