Pace launching rapid bus service between O'Hare and Evanston
Starting Sunday, northwest Cook County Pace riders can expect quicker, more frequent buses between O'Hare and Evanston on the new Pulse Dempster Line.
They're also purple, a shift from Pace's traditional blue.
The rapid bus service will initially run on Sundays only, officials said Wednesday at a preview in downtown Des Plaines where a new Pulse station opened.
"What a fabulous opportunity to help move people quickly through the Northwest suburbs," state Sen. Laura Murphy of Des Plaines said.
The service travels on Dempster and Mannheim roads in Evanston, Skokie, Morton Grove, Niles, Park Ridge, Des Plaines, Rosemont and Chicago. The Dempster Line is the second Pulse route on the system; the first runs on Milwaukee Avenue between Niles and Jefferson Park in Chicago.
Pulse buses have fewer stops and are equipped with Transit Signal Priority technology that communicates with traffic signals.
"It allows the bus to shorten the red lights and make the green lights longer," explained Pace Board Member Christopher Canning, former Wilmette village president. "That makes Pace able to have improved reliability and service frequencies as well as make the trip times faster."
The buses will operate every 15 minutes between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. and at 20-minute intervals at other times.
Service will expand to weekdays and Saturdays later in the year.
One reason is because "we need to get drivers," Pace Executive Director Melinda Metzger said, adding the agency is currently recruiting and training new staff.
Key bus stops on the route include O'Hare International Airport, Maine East High School and Advocate Lutheran General Hospital. It also connects with four Metra lines and CTA stations on the Yellow and Purple lines in Skokie and Evanston, respectively.
Pulse buses come with Wi-Fi and USB charging ports. Stations are heated and will provide real-time arrival information.
Federal funding provided $10 million in grants for stations and other capital costs plus $15 million in operating funds for the first three years.
The next Pulse project will be a rapid bus service on Halsted Street in the South suburbs, Pace Chairman Richard Kwasneski said.
The purple branding distinguishes Pulse from Pace's other fixed routes and complements their tint, officials noted.
For more information, go to pacebus.com/route/pulse-dempster-line.