Pace News 2018

2017 a successful year despite funding challenges

While Pace staff worked to balance the 2018 budget with less funding and significant capital needs, the agency operated more service, carried more people, and kept projects like Pulse and Bus on Shoulder moving forward. In 2017, Pace carried 36 million passenger trips--a nearly 1% increase--while transit agencies across the nation saw ridership drop 4.6%. Most notably, ridership on Pace's I-90 express service increased 45%!

Public transit must evolve with the communities it serves, and Pace takes pride in its adoption of new technology. The agency installed 16 electronic real-time information signs at busy shelters and added text messaging code numbers to thousands of bus stop signs in 2017. Usage of the text messaging service to get real-time bus arrival information increased 600% over the course of last year. Pace will build on the success of this initiative by deploying even more bus stop codes and real-time signs in 2018 and beyond. Pace has continued to modernize its vehicles as well. As of the end of 2017, the agency has put 91 compressed natural gas (CNG) buses into service in the south Cook region. In addition to reducing emissions, using this fuel saves Pace $1 million annually. Pace is the first transit agency in the Chicago area and the third in Illinois to adopt CNG technology for its fleet.

Pace proudly accepted two awards in 2017. Pace received a Joliet Chamber of Commerce Business Award for its work to connect Joliet area businesses with employees through bus service, vanpools and RideShare matching. Pace also received the Elgin Development Group Transportation Award for the new I-90/IL 25 Park-n-Ride Station, which opened in December. The facility, featuring nearly 200 parking spaces and improved pedestrian access, connects Elgin to the northwest suburbs, O'Hare Airport and downtown Chicago.

2017 also saw the Federal Transit Administration undertake their most intensive audit of the region's ADA paratransit system. The seven-day review included site visits, interviews with Pace riders and advocates, and an evaluation of over 50,000 trips. The FTA found Pace's operational standards and overall service performance to be "very high" and Pace's complaint process to be "comprehensive and thorough." Pace Chairman Richard Kwasneski promised, "We'll continue to hold ourselves to high standards as we work each day to meet the needs of our passengers."

While Pace is certainly proud of the transit-oriented achievements listed above, their staff is just as proud of their own charitable contributions. Extending the spirit of giving that the public transit agency embraces, Pace employees raised $1300 for the Wounded Warrior Project through a pie-in-the-face event at their summer picnic, where they paid for the opportunity to plant a whipped cream pie in their manager's face. Following the success of that event, staff used their holiday party to collect more than 250 toys for Ignite the Spirit, the Chicago Fire Department's Charity that delivers Christmas presents to children at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center Pediatrics Unit, the University of Chicago Medicine Children's Hospital, and Anne & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital.

 

Pace's ADA Paratransit Service receives positive report after intense FTA review

No deficiencies found in on-time performance or
 trip length in audit of more than 50,000 trips

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) recently released its report on the region's ADA Paratransit Compliance and Pace is pleased to share that operational standards and overall service performance were found to be "very high" and that the complaint investigation, tracking and resolution processes are considered "comprehensive and thorough."

"No public transit system is perfect, but Pace provides exemplary paratransit service that performs better than our national peers in almost every category. This report reflects that," said Chairman Richard Kwasneski. "I commend the dedicated personnel who manage and operate this service. We'll continue to hold ourselves to high standards as we work each day to meet the needs of our passengers."

The FTA's compliance review was the most intensive audit undertaken by the FTA of the region's ADA Paratransit Service policies and procedures. The seven-day review, which occurred May 18 - 26, 2017, included an evaluation of over 50,000 trips, site visits, and interviews with Pace riders and local disability organizations. This week-long review follows a series of FTA Triennial Reviews (2010, 2013 and 2016) that found Pace to be completely compliant with ADA regulations, including an ADA enhanced review in 2013.

In the thirty areas of compliancy that were examined, Pace was found to have only one substantive and one administrative deficiency. The administrative deficiency concerned the need for the paratransit fare to be free where comparable fixed route service is community sponsored. The substantive deficiency concerned the high number of very early drop-offs for trips with appointment times. Pace is in the process of resolving these deficiencies.

To review the full report, please visit https://www.transit.dot.gov/regulations-and-guidance/civil-rights-ada/ada-compliance-review-final-reports.

I-90/IL 25 Park-n-Ride Station

Pace I-90/IL 25 Park-n-Ride Station now open

Pace was excited to start service at the I-90/IL 25 Park-n-Ride Station on December 18. The station boasts a 199-spot free parking lot and sits on the I-90 on-ramp to provide buses easy access to the Tollway and minimize travel times. Routes 603, 605, and 607 operate between the station and Schaumburg or Rosemont to provide connections to other Pace bus routes and the CTA Blue Line. Many Elgin, Dundee, and Carpentersville commuters can access the station by using Route 543, which stops about a block away. 

Pace commemorates opening of new I-90/IL25 Park-n-Ride Station Free park-n-ride lot has 199 spots to accommodate growing ridership along the I-90 corridor

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL -- Officials from Pace and the Illinois Tollway joined State Senator Christina Castro and Elgin Mayor Dave Kaptain on Monday, December 18, 2017, to celebrate the opening of the Pace I-90/IL 25 Park-n-Ride Station. The station boasts a 199-spot free parking lot and sits on the I-90 on ramp to provide buses easy access to the Tollway and minimize travel times. Routes 603, 605, and 607 operate between the station and Schaumburg or Rosemont to provide connections to other Pace bus routes and the CTA Blue Line. Many Elgin, Dundee, and Carpentersville commuters can access the station by using Route 543 which stops about a block away on IL 25 (Dundee Road).

"Every $10 million of capital investment in public transportation yields approximately $32 million in increased business sales," Chairman Richard Kwasneski reported as he welcomed guests. "That's good for our economy and allows Pace to provide safe and reliable public transportation. Our service helps the region's residents access employment, medical centers, education, shopping, and all that northeastern Illinois has to offer." Park-n-rides like this one along the I-55 corridor reach capacity almost as soon as they open thanks to significant ridership increases attributed to the Bus on Shoulder program. A dedicated lane that allows buses to bypass traffic makes service more reliable, and thus more attractive to commuters. I-55 corridor service is now on-time on over 90% of trips. When service operated in mixed traffic, on-time performance was only about 65%.

Senator Christina Castro offered congratulations to the project team and talked about how her husband uses the service. "One of the only people more excited about this project than me is my husband. He takes the bus to the Blue Line to go downtown and doesn't have to deal with traffic or parking downtown." Route 603, which starts at the Elgin Transportation Center, and Route 605, which begins at the I-90/Randall Road Park-n-Ride Station, both offer connections to the CTA Blue Line and other Pace bus routes at the Rosemont Transit Center.

"The Park-n-Ride facilities are important options for commuters by providing them with seamless travel throughout the I-90 corridor and they are another step in achieving our vision of a shared regional transportation network that includes partners like Pace," said Illinois Tollway Board Chairman Bob Schillerstrom. "It's a vision that has made possible a reliable and convenient option for our customers to access jobs, business parks, retail and entertainment venues, hospitals and educational facilities throughout the Northwest suburbs and Chicago. As we move to rebuild the Central Tri-State Tollway, we will continue to work with Pace to create similar options for our customers."

Mayor Dave Kaptain was also in attendance. "I couldn't be more pleased that Elgin residents now have more access than ever to quality public transportation. I have one question for Pace though," he joked. "Why 199 spots? We couldn't fit in one more spot for an even 200?"

In 2018, Pace's most innovative transportation facility will open to the public. The Pace I-90/Barrington Road Park-n-Ride Station will boast the region's first-ever on-highway bus stop. This will allow employees and residents in Chicago and the northwest suburbs fast access to their homes, workplaces, or connecting bus routes. A pedestrian bridge over the Tollway, bike racks, improved sidewalks, and 170 free parking spaces will help riders complete their journey. The Pace I-90/Barrington Road Park-n-Ride Station will be served by Routes 603, 605, 607, and a new local area distributor route.

 

New Ventra cards

Replacement for expiring Ventra cards comes with a new look

The first Ventra cards, issued in 2013, will begin to expire December 31, 2017. New Ventra cards are being mailed to customers with expiring cards who have previously registered their cards at ventrachicago.com. Ventra will send email notifications to registered customers two months before their cards expire. The email notifications will ask customers to confirm their current mailing address so they can receive their free replacement card through the mail. If you haven't already, please register your card at ventrachicago.com with your current address and a new card will be mailed to you for free. Read more.

The first Ventra cards, issued in 2013, will begin to expire December 31, 2017. New Ventra cards, featuring a fresh new design, are being mailed to customers who have previously registered their cards at ventrachicago.com and whose current cards are expiring. As a courtesy to customers, Ventra will send email notifications to registered customers two months before their cards expire. The email notifications will ask customers to confirm their current mailing address so they can receive their free replacement card through the mail.

If you haven't already, please register your card at ventrachicago.com with your current address and a new card will be mailed to you for free. Registering allows customers to manage their accounts via the Ventra app or online, protects balances if cards are lost or stolen, allows for the setup of autoload of unlimited-ride passes or transit value, provides account notifications and more. Because customers who do not register their Ventra cards will lose unused balances on their account once the card expires, CTA strongly recommends customers to register their cards ahead of time.

If you've already registered your Ventra card but have moved since 2013, be sure that Ventra has your current address by logging into your account on ventrachicago.com, via the Ventra app or by calling customer service at (877) 669-8368.

The prepaid debit functionality will cease to be available as of December 31, 2017. Customers who have opened prepaid debit accounts as a part of their Ventra accounts are being offered the ability to transfer funds to new prepaid debit cards offered by Money Network, which has administered the prepaid debit feature for Ventra. Customers can spend down their prepaid balances, transfer their funds to a new prepaid debit card or have their funds returned to them via check from Money Network.

 

New Pace fares effective January 1, 2018

2018 Pace Fares Full Reduced
Regular Fixed Route & Call-n-Ride Fares
Cash $2.25 $1.10
Ventra transit value $2.00 $1.00
Transfer with Ventra to Regular route $.30 $.20
Transfer with Ventra to Local route in Waukegan, Elgin, Aurora & Joliet Free Free
Express/Other Fares
Premium routes (with cash or Ventra) $4.50 $2.25
Pace single-ride transfer to premium routes $2.80 $1.45
Pace regular pass transfer to premium routes $2.50 $1.25
Paratransit
ADA Paratransit Service $3.25 N/A
Taxi Access Program (TAP) (Chicago only) $3.00 N/A
Dial-a-Ride Varies Varies

* Please note that the CTA will increase the price of the CTA/Pace 30-Day Pass to $105 on January 7, 2018. There is no price change for the CTA/Pace 7-Day pass or any Pace-only passes.

$0.25 fare increase helps balance budget and prevents service cuts

Pace's 2018 budget, which is balanced and maintains current service levels, was approved by the Pace Board of Directors in November and passed by the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) Board of Directors on December 14, 2017. A $0.25 fare increase on regular fixed route ($.50 on premium routes) and ADA paratransit service fares is included as a budget balancing action to address an almost $12 million shortfall caused by a reduction in state support and lagging sales tax revenue. Also included are a corporate hiring freeze and other administrative cost-containment measures that will not affect service operations.

"Since our last fare increase in 2009, Pace has boosted service to make it easier for current passengers to get where they need to go and to attract new riders. If we cut service, we'll lose that momentum," said Pace Board Chairman Richard Kwasneski. "Maintaining our current level of service is imperative and this modest fare increase makes that possible."

The fare increase went into effect on January 1, 2018. ADA Paratransit Service passengers should note that $3 tickets will be accepted without a surcharge during a one month grace period ending January 31, 2018. After that, a surcharge of $0.25 will be required if paying with a $3 ticket. $3.25 ticket books are now available for purchase in the Pace Online Store.

 

 

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