Route 835 South Suburban Express, which operates between the Worth, Chicago Ridge and Oak Lawn Metra stations and Downtown via the Stevenson Expressway (Interstate Highway 55), is the first of 23 poorly performing routes Pace axed because of a $50 million budget shortfall. Pace will start cutting the other 22 routes Sept. 29.
Pace's board of directors voted Aug. 1 to authorize fare hikes and service cuts because of a $50 million hole in the agency's 2007 budget.
The Illinois General Assembly so far has failed to take up proposed legislation to fill a combined $226 million transportation funding shortfall for Pace, Metra and the Chicago Transit Authority, which also has authorized service cuts and fare hikes.
Even if legislators approve an 11th-hour funding measure, the 23 Pace routes will not be restored, Pace spokeswoman Judi Kulm said Thursday.
The Bears Shuttle could be reinstated before the end of the season with additional state funding, but no decision on that has been made, Kulm said.
The shuttle has been successful, hauling about 1,300 fans per game last year, but Pace could not justify maintaining service to a sporting event while eliminating routes that take people to jobs and school, Kulm said.
Recently, Route 835's eight daily express runs have been carrying only about 50 riders per day, down from about 68 in 2006. Route 835 essentially duplicates service on Metra's SouthWest Line, which doubled its commuter rail service last year, Pace officials said.
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