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Northwestern, CTA Offer Free Bus Service Throughout Evanston

Bus route extends from campus to Ryan Field, to Evanston business district and beyond

EVANSTON, Ill. --- An agreement between Northwestern University and the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) announced today will allow Northwestern students, faculty, staff and anyone else with University identification to ride the CTA’s No. 201 bus to campus and other Evanston destinations for free.  

Beginning this year, the free CTA service for Northwestern riders will be offered from September through June. It will take the place of the Ryan Field Shuttle and offer more buses, longer service hours and extended routing. At the same time, local traffic congestion will be reduced with the consolidation of redundant transit options.

The No. 201 bus route extends from the CTA Howard bus and rail terminal to the Northwestern campus, with stops in the Evanston business district, at Ryan Field and all the way down Central Street to the Westfield Old Orchard shopping mall in Skokie.

“We are so pleased to announce this partnership with the CTA,” said Brian Peters, assistant vice president for University Services. “We have been wanting to provide such a transportation service for many years. It’s definitely a win-win for the Northwestern community and the city of Evanston.”

Under the new five-year agreement, the University has agreed to reimburse the CTA for the cost of $2 fares for Northwestern riders who must show a valid University photo identification card to ride the No. 201 bus for free during the school year. Riders will be charged the standard CTA bus fare for service in July and August. Students still will be able to use the Ventra U-Pass for discounted travel during the summer.

Service on the No. 201 route is provided weekdays from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“This first-of-its-kind agreement with Northwestern exemplifies the value of public-private partnerships,” CTA President Dorval Carter Jr. said. “This benefits not only the University, but also the surrounding communities by making it easier to connect to local communities and neighborhoods and reducing local traffic congestion and harmful emissions as a result of fewer buses traveling many of the same roadways.”

Based on Northwestern rider data, it is anticipated that approximately 600 weekday rides will result from the program.

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