In an effort to expand a bus route that runs from the Rosemont CTA Blue Line stop to Hoffman Estates, Pace is requesting the use of parking spaces at the Sears Centre Arena to serve suburban commuters heading to Chicago.
The Hoffman Estates village board is considering an intergovernmental agreement that would allow Pace to set up a free Park and Ride lot at the arena, 5333 Prairie Stone Parkway, for suburban commuters to use on weekdays. The village is scheduled to vote June 17 on the agreement, which would designate 33 parking spaces on the east side of the arena as Park and Ride spots, according to Mike Hankey, the village's director of transportation and engineering.
Currently, Pace Route 610 primarily serves reverse commuters. There are nine westbound trips from the CTA station to Sears Holdings Corp. and the Prairie Stone transit center -- located near the corner of Pratum Avenue and Trillium Boulevard -- on weekday mornings, with one trip stopping at Siemens and Clare's.
However, there are only three opportunities in the morning for riders to board at Sears or the Prairie Stone transit center and head east to the CTA stop.
It is a similar situation in the afternoon, with only four opportunities for suburban commuters to catch a bus back to Hoffman Estates from the CTA stop, versus nine opportunities for workers in the Prairie Stone Business Park to travel to the city.
Starting August 19, Pace hopes most, if not all, of the Route 610 trips will operate in both directions during the morning and afternoon rush hours, Pace spokesman Patrick Wilmot said.
"This will be a nice enhancement for people in the area," Wilmot said, adding that it provides suburban residents a way to save money on gas and avoid congestion that will be caused by upcoming Jane Addams Tollway construction.
The route averages about 430 riders per day, very few of whom are commuting to Chicago, Wilmot said. The suburban residents who do use it to go to Chicago and back are likely getting dropped off, as there currently are no Park and Ride locations in the Prairie Stone Business Park.
The expanded Route 610 schedule is part of Pace's long-term plan to increase service along the I-90 corridor, which eventually may include buses riding on the shoulder of the highway, Wilmot said.