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  #9221  
Old Posted May 28, 2012, 5:28 PM
FlashingLights FlashingLights is offline
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
Right. There's currently no way to merge those two lines. But doing any through-routing at all is gonna require some sort of new tunnel, so my plan includes a tunnel spur to the rail line near Grand and the river. From there, there's already a grade-separated line leading directly to UP-N.

Operationally, it would require some interesting stuff. UP operates the Metra service under contract, but in other parts of the country UP has been loathe to operate any commuter service. I'm guessing UP would agree to surrender operations on UP-N and UP-NW so long as UP-W remains under their control; the West line is the busy cash-cow freight route, while the other two see relatively little freight traffic, only nights and weekends if at all.

With UP out of the way, I suppose BNSF could operate the combined line through a trackage-rights agreement. Presumably BNSF would want control of any commuter service on their line, which is also a major cash-cow freight route.
This makes no sense at all. They already have a mail line that connects north concourse from the BNSF south concourse in Union and is the only through way why would they not just connect to the Milwaukee lines at Union instead of spending on a ridiculous project to connect to UP-N. Plus technically you could link to to both MD-W and MD-N since they share the same lines up until right after Western where they spur off.
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  #9222  
Old Posted May 28, 2012, 5:35 PM
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On RER lines connecting RATP and SNCF suburban services, trains actually switch drivers in the middle. Conceptually, something similar could be done with through-running Metra trains, although I definitely prefer your idea of BNSF running things further up.

There are some daytime freight moves on the UP-NW/UP-N lines—I now live off of Blackhawk west of the Kennedy, and I sometimes see freight movements across the Kennedy along the UP-N/NW lines around noon (based on what I’ve read online and what relatives in Evanston say, these seem to be coming from the Northwest line); alternatively, they could be shorter maneuvers within the small yard facility there, though they don’t look like that to me. I’m pretty sure these could be easily rescheduled or scheduled around, though.

Anyone know how much it would cost to buy the UP-N/NW lines outright? I personally doubt it would be worth the investment—UP would almost certainly demand some rights to continue running along the line as a condition of sale plus coverage for liabilities, but it might still help clear things up. Even though buying the Worcester line from CSX was a major headache from the MBTA, from what I understand it was the only way they could accomplish what they wanted to along that route.
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  #9223  
Old Posted May 29, 2012, 12:45 AM
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We've talked about this before, but for the benefit of newcomers:

Bion J. Arnold's 1914 scheme for through-routing steam road commuter service is online here. It still makes a lot of sense to me:


Hooker, George Ellsworth. Through Routes for Chicago's Steam Railroads. City Club of Chicago, 1914

1. IC to C&NW North Line via a new subway under St. Clair and Ohio
2. Rock Island, NYC, and C&WI to C&NW Northwest Line via a new subway under LaSalle and Ohio
3. Alton, Wabash, and Pennsy to Milwaukee Road lines via Union Station
4. Burlington to C&NW West Line via Union Station

Though I'd probably put the new subway under Clark and Chicago rather than LaSalle and Ohio, I still think that would be a useful and farsighted way for us to spend a billion dollars. Arnold took a lot of trouble to avoid crossing lines, which might not today be so essential. It might make sense to reconsider his threading, so that the Burlington, for instance, would link to the C&NW North Line rather than doubling back west. Or, since every line basically goes through a throat near Kinzie/Desplaines, a big transfer station there would allow any possible transfer. Of course, my first move would be to put all the Metra lines on half-hour non-rush headways, so the system could work as true regional rail rather than commuter rail.

Last edited by Mr Downtown; Oct 7, 2015 at 9:51 PM.
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  #9224  
Old Posted May 29, 2012, 2:45 AM
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Would love to see this come though. Electricity, still modern after 300 years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
We've talked about this before, but for the benefit of newcomers:

Bion J. Arnold's 1914 scheme for through-routing steam road commuter service is online here. It still makes a lot of sense to me:


Hooker, George Ellsworth. Through Routes for Chicago's Steam Railroads. City Club of Chicago, 1914

1. IC to C&NW North Line via a new subway under St. Clair and Ohio
2. Rock Island, NYC, and C&WI to C&NW Northwest Line via a new subway under LaSalle and Ohio
3. Alton, Wabash, and Pennsy to Milwaukee Road lines via Union Station
4. Burlington to C&NW West Line via Union Station

Though I'd probably put the new subway under Clark and Chicago rather than LaSalle and Ohio, I still think that would be a useful and farsighted way for us to spend a billion dollars. Arnold took a lot of trouble to avoid crossing lines, which might not today be so essential. It might make sense to reconsider his threading, so that the Burlington, for instance, would link to the C&NW North Line rather than doubling back west. Or, since every line basically goes through a throat near Kinzie/Desplaines, a big transfer station there would allow any possible transfer. Of course, my first move would be to put all the Metra lines on half-hour non-rush headways, so the system could work as true regional rail rather than commuter rail.
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  #9225  
Old Posted May 29, 2012, 3:18 AM
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Thanks... the through-routing plan shows how Chicago's city fathers anticipated the needs of the rail system 60 years before Paris started to connect its terminals via the RER (German cities had through-running from the start).

I think crossing lines with transfer stations are essential to the whole venture. The regional rail system needs to work as a network, so that riders on one line have easy convenient access to the stations on any other line. Efficient transfer stations require crossing lines or, if you wanna go whole-hog, cross-platform transfers.

Philly is the only American city to even attempt something like this, but that experiment seems to have failed. I wonder if there are any good accounts of how the reform happened originally and why SEPTA back-slid.
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  #9226  
Old Posted May 29, 2012, 12:18 PM
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RTA seeks consolidation of some services between CTA, Metra, Pace

http://www.suntimes.com/news/transpo...etra-pace.html

Updated: May 29, 2012 2:10AM

Ever see a Pace bus pass you by while you’re waiting for a CTA bus?

The Regional Transportation Authority calls that a redundant service route and an example of just one way that combining parts of the CTA, Metra and Pace could save taxpayers $150 million a year.

Streamlining service between CTA and Pace buses could save up to $50 million of that total, the RTA says.

The ideas are detailed in a memo written by RTA Chairman John Gates and addressed to RTA board members. The memo also was sent to the CEOs of Metra, Pace and the CTA on Friday.

Combining purchasing, personnel, marketing and maintenance departments will save $100 million a year, Gates wrote in the memo.

“There is a need to make this a priority to more quickly allow for interagency travel and realize increased taxpayer savings,” the memo said.

Each agency has its own executive staff, administrative personnel and headquarters. Gates is asking to consolidate services and contracts, such as lobbying and legal work. He’s also urging the agencies to combine maintenance facilities, warehouses and contracts for fuel services.

“In this year’s budget process the RTA will demand more information on streamlining and maximizing resources,” Gates’ memo said. “I plan to ask each service board to provide the specific steps they are taking to make these cost-saving initiatives a reality.”

And he wants CTA President Forrest Claypool at the RTA Board meeting Wednesday to hear his views.

Universal fare card on way?

Among the cost-saving ideas is fare coordination, which the CTA and Metra have been discussing for months. But the CTA says it’s already doing something similar with Pace: the new Open Fare system, which they call the “gateway to a universal fare card.”

And the CTA already has agreed to restructure overlapping bus service, according to CTA spokeswoman Molly Sullivan.

Also, the three agencies have renewed the Link Up pass, the only fare instrument that works for all three agencies. It’s the closest thing to a universal pass that Chicago area transit has. It’s accepted at all times by Pace and during rush hours by the CTA. Pace said there were about 220,000 rides by Link Up passholders last year.

“The transit agencies that actually deliver service each day are working together more closely than ever to better serve their customers,” Sullivan said.

That also includes a joint purchasing agreement between the CTA and Metra for common supplies such as spikes, plates and other track components, Sullivan said.

And as for getting rid of those high-paying administrative positions? The CTA says senior-level position cuts and management initiatives were projected to slash $117 million from the $277 million budget deficit.

Blast from the past

In June 1992, RTA Chairman Gayle Franzen began his campaign to combine his agency and the three agencies into a single transit board: a superagency.

It didn’t work. Few legislators expressed support, while Metra and Pace said it was a bad idea. The CTA at first said it would be difficult, then called the idea “botched.”

So what was the problem? Suburban leaders feared consolidation would mean their dollars would be going to city services; while city leaders thought their money would be filtered to the suburbs. Another problem: A partisan struggle for control over the contracts and jobs.

By November 1992, Franzen dumped his own idea, saying it created far too much distrust among the agencies.

The first idea of a centralized superagency came in 1973, at the time of a mass transit financial crisis. That’s when the RTA was created.

Duplicative costs ‘riddle system’

The RTA says a 2007 audit of the transit agencies found “duplicative” administration costs, redundant service routes and inefficient use of resources that “riddle our system.”

And in 2008, the RTA began to research coordination and fairness in spending for the agencies.

Ultimately, Gates says he wants the three agencies to pick up the pace on coordination to save taxpayers’ money.

“Because taxpayers and customers suffer when these inefficiencies go unchecked, the RTA has worked tirelessly for several years to identify opportunities for system-wide improvements,” Gates wrote in the memo. “Unfortunately, though we have presented plans to eliminate the inefficiencies identified in the 2007 audit and identified other opportunities to streamline operations and maximize resources, the service boards have not implemented any major joint steps toward this end.”

Pace spokesman Patrick Wilmot said the RTA held several meetings with senior-level management last year about consolidating services, but “no specifics” were laid out.

Room for innovation?

The battle over money and consolidation might be leaving something out: innovation.

“There’s still the battle of the turf that crops up about the new Pace Express bus services, how those can be lengthened to create a better-coordinated bus system for the city and suburbs,” said Joseph Schwieterman, a transportation expert at DePaul University. “And that’s been a hard battle because Pace has had difficulties fighting its case for express bus routes when it comes to” sharing routes with Metra.

There’s a barrier between the agencies, he said. And breaking that barrier will benefit customers.

“In this region you have such limited Metra service on Sunday. . . . If we could just bring some energy to this process, have more freedom to use Pace, Metra and the CTA seamlessly, without any one agency looking over the other shoulder, the region would be better off.”
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  #9227  
Old Posted May 29, 2012, 1:19 PM
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BorisMolotov BorisMolotov is offline
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I don't get why they distrust each other so much, I mean they have 3 completely separate markets and roles that don't really impede on each other. There's no real fighting for "turf" which would seem to me the biggest motivator and factor and by working together they can only grow.

Also, what are people's thoughts on this so-called "Superagency?" Would it actually work better than what is right now or should they just try to be more cooperative?
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  #9228  
Old Posted May 29, 2012, 1:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BorisMolotov View Post
I don't get why they distrust each other so much, I mean they have 3 completely separate markets and roles that don't really impede on each other. There's no real fighting for "turf" which would seem to me the biggest motivator and factor and by working together they can only grow.

Also, what are people's thoughts on this so-called "Superagency?" Would it actually work better than what is right now or should they just try to be more cooperative?
"Turf" isn't the real issue, it is, as with much in life, all about the Benjamins.

If you have two agencies (PACE notwithstanding), one representing the suburbs and one representing the City, they can battle it out, but they both essentially have to get something out of it just by virtue of existence.

If you have one agency, then how the rules get made to decide where the money gets spent scares the existing two agencies. The City has the density requisite for transit, as well as a much higher percentage of transit-dependent riders, so they can claim a much bigger section of the transit funding slice from a rational planning basis. But the suburbs have (over) twice as many residents, so they can try to claim a much bigger slice of the transit pie just on democratic appeals. The City probably needs the suburbs money more than the suburbs need transit, so it's a really scary proposition for the CTA to mess with a system that largely still works for the City.
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  #9229  
Old Posted May 29, 2012, 1:52 PM
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Hmm, good points. Well as a suburbanite, I see things from the side of the suburbs (but recognize Chicago's end too), and the way suburban sees transportation is that they will use it IF and Only If its extremely convenient to use. For instance, I live in Bartlett, and my cousins live in Hoffman Estates. Just for a fun daytrip, I would take the Metra into the city but they would rather drive since they live off of 90 and the nearest Metra station is Schaumburg. Once in the city, both of us would use CTA to get around as it is much more convenient than driving (trips to the Museum of S & I notwithstanding). So I guess my point is that in order to grow the whole metro area system, you have to spend more at the suburban level to connect them better with the city at which point lazy suburbanites will see the value in using the transit over driving.

So in sum, in order to change suburban consumer's minds about transit, it has to outweigh the benefits of driving. This means that transit needs to have access to everywhere suburban consumers would want to go, and ultimately that would increase the amount of "Benjamins" for all agencies.
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  #9230  
Old Posted May 29, 2012, 2:15 PM
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When it comes to suburban buses I might move the opposite direction of a heavily coordinated, all-seeing planning agency.

I have to think that some of the larger suburbs that have horrendous coverage, such as Arlington Heights (where a lot of my relatives live) could do a lot better if they had more local control over the routes... Are there currently any suburbs that run their own buses independent of (or in addition to) Pace? Are they prohibited from doing so?
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  #9231  
Old Posted May 29, 2012, 2:40 PM
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Kamin's review of the new Morgan stop:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,7433092.story
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  #9232  
Old Posted May 29, 2012, 2:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BorisMolotov View Post
...
So in sum, in order to change suburban consumer's minds about transit, it has to outweigh the benefits of driving. This means that transit needs to have access to everywhere suburban consumers would want to go, and ultimately that would increase the amount of "Benjamins" for all agencies.
And you've just illustrated why the city considers one agency rule to be a threat.

Providing the level of service necessary to make it easy for very-low-density surburbs to use transit would be an ENORMOUS net cost. That cost would drain transit dollars, even if not directly from the City's tax roles, from the State sources of revenue, which would hurt the City.

The only rational stance is that in order to enjoy transit service above just commuter-level, people need to be willing to live in areas above a certain density. Most of the suburbs that are at that density level have transit, but it would be a waste of money to try and provide transit to areas where people can't walk to things. Transit is best when it's viewed as a supplement to walking, and not as a car alternative. That's why the "L" running in the middle of expressways is a fundamentally flawed design. Putting it in the center of expressways is fundamentally inconvenient for walking, and it puts it in direct competition with cars, where cars are most efficient.

I am a huge transit advocate, and I think there needs to be better integration of the existing systems. But the only way I'd support a super-agency is if it had, in the charter, that it would only provide service in areas that maintained a density of either population or jobs or some combination of the two above certain levels or, at the least, maintained zoning that would enable such density (this would help protect some of the Green Line stops in bombed-out parts of the South Side. And if the cities in the agencies accepted some subservience in zoning around existing transit infrastructure. Allowing new single family home construction next to "L" stations is absolutely moronic, and any super-agency should not only have the power to tell a suburb that it won't get frequent bus transit in areas that require 1 acre lots, but the power to tell Chicago it will lose "L" stations if it doesn't start allowing appropriately dense development near its existing rail infrastructure.
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  #9233  
Old Posted May 29, 2012, 2:50 PM
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Quote:
I have to think that some of the larger suburbs that have horrendous coverage, such as Arlington Heights (where a lot of my relatives live) could do a lot better if they had more local control over the routes... Are there currently any suburbs that run their own buses independent of (or in addition to) Pace?
The ONLY suburb(s) that could theoretically support their own bus line would be Aurora-Naperville, but even then I'm not sure the overall density would justify it.
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  #9234  
Old Posted May 29, 2012, 3:01 PM
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Regarding the through routing plan. It is a thing of beauty but needs some updating. Here is my modification and attempt to balance things out based on modern (annual) ridership figures.

UP-N (8.7 million) <-> Metra Electric (9.7 million) via new tunnel - unchanged
This route has the greatest potential for ridership growth on both ends with new in-town stations and increased frequency

UP-NW (10.8 million) <-> Rock Island + SWS (11 million) via new tunnel - unchanged

BNSF (16.2 million) <-> MD-W, MD-N, NCS (15.3 million) via new tunnel under Clinton or Canal Street
This tunnel is already planned.

UP-W (7.8 million) <-> NICTD South Shore (4.2 million) via Union Station through tracks + SCAL
South shore comes up short for now but has a lot of potential for growth with branches to Valparaiso/Lowell capturing extra ridership from the rest of northern Indiana.

All intercity trains would terminate at Union Station.

The biggest problem I see is the huge number of new underground stations that would need to be built. Digging tunnels is expensive but not impossibly so; it's stations that really blow the budget. Could any stations be eliminated (or deferred) without impacting the plan's effectiveness too severely?

Last edited by orulz; May 29, 2012 at 3:56 PM.
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  #9235  
Old Posted May 29, 2012, 3:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BorisMolotov View Post
I don't get why they distrust each other so much, I mean they have 3 completely separate markets and roles that don't really impede on each other. There's no real fighting for "turf" which would seem to me the biggest motivator and factor and by working together they can only grow.

Also, what are people's thoughts on this so-called "Superagency?" Would it actually work better than what is right now or should they just try to be more cooperative?
A "Superagency" obviously has way too much potential for misuse.

"Should they try to be more cooperative"?

These are A L L grown-azzed people - who should S T O P acting like 3 year old kids (sorry - no offense meant to 3 year old kids).

"It's M Y ball, and Y O U can't play with it" "ttttthhhhhuuuuupppppp"

"I don't want to play with Y O U R stinky old ball anyway" "ttttthhhhuuuuuppppp"

Oh Yeah - r e a l "Adult" of them.
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  #9236  
Old Posted May 29, 2012, 5:37 PM
untitledreality untitledreality is offline
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Originally Posted by Beta_Magellan View Post
Anyone know how much it would cost to buy the UP-N/NW lines outright? I personally doubt it would be worth the investment—UP would almost certainly demand some rights to continue running along the line as a condition of sale plus coverage for liabilities, but it might still help clear things up. Even though buying the Worcester line from CSX was a major headache from the MBTA, from what I understand it was the only way they could accomplish what they wanted to along that route.
Alternatively, (but still for a massive cost) what about returning the UP-N to 3-4 track service? The ROW is still there for it well past Evanston and it would allow for uninhibited freight and passenger movement through the corridor. Has something like this ever been brought up in transit/freight circles?
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  #9237  
Old Posted May 29, 2012, 6:46 PM
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The biggest problem I see is the huge number of new underground stations that would need to be built. Digging tunnels is expensive but not impossibly so; it's stations that really blow the budget. Could any stations be eliminated (or deferred) without impacting the plan's effectiveness too severely?
Your plan works well from a ridership perspective but doesn't offer the most convenient transfer opportunities.

In terms of stations, I think the network would need to reach as many regional-level destinations as possible - this is why I proposed rerouting BNSF into an Ogden-Polk tunnel, to serve the Medical District and UIC while avoiding Global One and the Union Station yards.

There should also be stations at NMH/Streeterville and Water Tower. My plan actually takes that subway line all the way up to North, with a station at Lincoln Park Corner and North/Clybourn (which allows direct link to the Red Line). This could be reduced to a Chicago subway, with the Water Tower station offering the Red Line transfer and a second station at Chicago/Larrabee. Either way, there's a total of 7 underground stations, plus a variety of infill stations at surface level or on viaducts.

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  #9238  
Old Posted May 29, 2012, 8:47 PM
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... map with routings ...
I don't think you should put that under North Ave - there's very little office space up there, and commuter rail is not the kind of enhanced transit service that Lincoln Park needs anyway.

Run it under Chicago Ave, and at the same time build the Clinton Street subway so you can put a transfer point near Chicago and Kingsbury so north shore people can get to their jobs in the West Loop.

There's also virtually zero benefit to run the southwest line along Ogden and Polk like that. Keep it on the existing tracks. Add a connection to the Pink Line, build the Circle LIne, increase frequency and make all trains stop at the Halsted station and you add a lot of benefit without having to do expensive and disruptive work just to get to the medical center.

You also don't have any cross-Loop connections, and not a single station in the Loop. I think both of those ommissions are less than ideal.
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  #9239  
Old Posted May 29, 2012, 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
Philly is the only American city to even attempt something like this, but that experiment seems to have failed. I wonder if there are any good accounts of how the reform happened originally and why SEPTA back-slid.
The basic history is covered well in the wiki article:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Center_...ter_Connection

In what days do you consider it failed? While the Reading viaduct is still there, of course the Penn viaduct ("Chinese Wall") which formerly fed Broad Street Station are gone, so ultimately there is minimal required land to serve railway terminals in the business core, which is the primary benefit of regional rail through-routing...
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  #9240  
Old Posted May 29, 2012, 11:01 PM
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Originally Posted by orulz View Post
I have to think that some of the larger suburbs that have horrendous coverage, such as Arlington Heights (where a lot of my relatives live) could do a lot better if they had more local control over the routes... Are there currently any suburbs that run their own buses independent of (or in addition to) Pace? Are they prohibited from doing so?
Several suburbs did run their own RTA-subsidized transit after the predecessor private companies failed, but these operations were all subsequently absorbed into Pace when it began operation in 1985 as mandated by the 1983 State legislation that reformed the RTA.

Offhand, such suburbs include Aurora, Elgin, Joliet, & Wilmette. Also there were some agglomeration operations, specifically West Towns and Nortran which served self-explanatory regions.

Evanston also ran bus service, but as it failed in the 1970s, those routes were assumed by CTA.
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