Visit this official Pace Web site for schedule and route information.
Since 1984, the bus system serving Chicago's suburbs has been known as Pace. Pace presently operates several types of bus services. Pace continues to operate routes formerly operated by private suburban bus companies, some of which began as streetcar and interurban railway lines.
The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) was formed in 1974 to coordinate and subsidize transit in the 6 county Chicago metropolitan area, and the private companies continued to operate the buses under the RTA name. The RTA was reorganized in 1984, and Pace was created as the agency responsible for the suburban buses. Pace eventually assumed direct operation of most of the established suburban bus routes, previously operated by the private companies.
Additional bus routes were established during the 1970's, connecting suburban residential areas with Metra train stations during the rush hours. Pace contracts with charter and school bus companies to operate most of these routes. In recent years, the greatest growth area for Pace has been reverse commute routes, usually operating express between CTA rapid transit stations and suburban areas with high concentrations of jobs.
SUBURBAN TRANSIT HISTORY
Many of Chicago's oldest suburbs formed along the commuter rail lines, developing as "bedroom communities". Residential areas were within walking distance of the railroad stations, where commuter trains took the workers to their jobs in downtown Chicago. The commuter rail system evolved into today's Metra.
In a few of Chicago's older suburbs, electric railway lines were built. Some of these areas had higher concentrations of industries or other employment centers, justifying the establishment of local transportation. And as newer suburban areas developed, buses were used for the new local transit routes. And of course in the older suburban areas, buses eventually replaced the streetcars.
Various private electric railway and bus companies operated in the various suburban areas outside Chicago. Private bus companies operated into the 1980's, eventually becoming acquired by Pace.
Many Pace bus routes were originally created by the predecessor private bus companies. A few routes were originally electric railways. The domination of the automobile in the suburbs has not made it easy for RTA and Pace to successfully expand the suburban bus service beyond what had originally existed. But some successful new bus routes have been created, mainly to enable city residents to commute to and from suburban jobs.
Pace has managed to keep its bus fleet modern and up to date. Included is information and links to historic rosters of various Pace predecessors.
Photos of Pace buses, present and past.
Pace has nine operating divisions, eight of which were formerly private bus companies. Pace also contracts with various charter bus companies to operate additional routes.
A look at Pace fares, transfers, and coordination with CTA, along with new fare collection technology.
Although many railfans would rather ride trains than buses, some Pace bus routes allow railfans to travel from one Metra line to another Metra line without doubling back through downtown Chicago.
Interurban lines did once extend beyond the Chicago area into northern Illinois. But outside the 6 county Chicago metropolitan area, public transit agencies were never approved, and local public transportation disappeared entirely.
Information contained on this site is unofficial. Any suggestions for additions and improvements to this site are welcome. Thanks for visiting! Bill Vandervoort
Chicago Transit & Railfan Web Site