Very  briefly, before a trip to China (yay!):

1. December 2014 was the first month of year-over-year ridership growth for CTA buses since November 2012. (Zero point one percent growth, but you know, it’s the trend that counts.) January 2015 was the second. (5.6% – though from a very low baseline of Polar Vortex-ified January 2014. Still down from January 2013.) Eagerly awaiting later numbers to see if this is a turnaround that will stick.

2. Pace, Chicago’s suburban bus service, has launched the website for Pulse, its rapid bus network initiative. Eventually, Pace plans 24 routes throughout the six-county area – though mostly serving suburban Cook. The first two lines to be implemented will be along Milwaukee Avenue, going northwest from the Jefferson Park Blue Line station, and Dempster Street, from Evanston to O’Hare.

The lines will have stops roughly every half mile, raised stations with real-time arrival information and heating, and limited transit-signal technology to give the buses priority through traffic lights. (Though only when it doesn’t affect car traffic, which is a pretty big “only.”)

The most important thing, though, might be the frequency, which is planned for every 10 minutes during peak periods and 15 minutes the rest of the day. Fifteen minutes is the outer edge of acceptable, but for a suburban bus network, it’s pretty exciting. Kudos to Pace.

Rendering of a Pulse station.
Rendering of a Pulse station.