Maria Mora doesn't have to travel far for class. The bus route from her South Loop home to the downtown Adler School of Professional Psychology is less than two miles.
But under a plan Chicago Transit Authority
leaders approved Thursday, her 15-minute commute soon will double. Mora's regular route -- the King Drive Express -- was one of nine express routes eliminated in a cost-cutting move.
"I don't know how (the elimination) is going to work out," said Mora, 25, who in a few months will be forced to take a local route that makes more stops. "In the winter time, it's going to be just terrible."
The dilemma is one that will be repeated across Chicago after CTA leaders signed off on a new budget that holds the line on fare increases but results in more than 1,000 layoffs and service cuts on rail lines and dozens of bus routes.
Come Feb. 7 riders will be vexed. And waiting in the cold. There will be less frequent service on 110 of the CTA's 150 bus routes.
That means during off-peak hours riders will wait up to 20 minutes on some major routes and up to 30 minutes on others. The system's rail lines will experience a similar reduction in train frequency.
Express bus service will be eliminated on routes including the Western, Irving Park, Cottage Grove and Ashland lines. And riders relying on some early-morning routes may have to scramble to find alternative transportation because "service spans" on 41 routes will be reduced.
On those routes buses will have later start times -- sometimes as much as an hour later. Many of those routes also will stop service earlier in the day. For example the No. 8 Halsted Street bus currently begins service at 2:45 a.m., but that would be pushed back to 4 a.m. next year. And instead of running until 2:20 a.m., service will be suspended at 12:30 a.m., almost two hours earlier.