As part of an ongoing effort to improve efficiency and reduce duplicative service, Pace announced it is combining two Northwest suburban bus routes.
Effective Monday, Aug. 22, travel options for riders in Elgin, Streamwood, Hanover Park, Hoffman Estates and Schaumburg will expand with the combination of Route 544 Chicago Street in Elgin with Route 554 Elgin-Woodfield.
"All the communities wrote letters of support because we really wanted this," Hanover Park Mayor Rod Craig said.
Pace staff found that 92 percent of Route 544 riders currently are getting on and off the bus along portions of Elgin's Chicago Avenue that are overlapped by Route 554.
At a May hearing Pace held in Elgin, Craig said a few riders were upset because the elimination of Route 544 means service to the Bode and Longford Road area will end.
However, the general response was overwhelmingly positive, he said, because buses will travel Route 554 far more frequently.
Once the new schedule goes into effect, a bus will run every 30 minutes weekday morning and evening rush hours and every 65 to 75 minutes midday. Saturday service will run every 70 minutes during the day.
Currently, Route 554 has just four buses that travel from Pace's Elgin Transportation Center east to the Northwest Transportation Center in Schaumburg in the morning, and five westbound buses in the afternoon. There is no Saturday service.
"That's the only bus service we have in the area right now," Craig said. "It's not enough."
Major stops along Route 554 will include the Elgin and Hanover Park Metra stations, Woodfield Shopping Center, Target, Jewel-Osco, St. Alexius Medical Center, Streamwood Library and Pace transportation centers in Elgin and Schaumburg.
Connections can be made to O'Hare International Airport, Harper College, Forest Park and Randhurst Mall.
Craig expects ridership will increase to the point where the route will be self-sustaining, and communities like Hanover Park will no longer have to pay more than $20,000 annually to keep it going.
For more information, visit pacebus.com or call (847) 364-7223.