SUBURBAN TRANSIT ROUTES

ROUTES 831-838

JOLIET/INTERURBAN

Interurban routes operated by the Pace Heritage Division, in Joliet. Some of these routes evolved from the Chicago & Joliet Electric interurban railway line, which in 1933 was replaced with buses operated by Bluebird Coach Lines. West Suburban Transit Lines acquired Bluebird Coach Lines in 1965.


831 - Joliet-Midway - route evolved from Chicago & Joliet Electric interurban line. Between Lockport and Joliet, interurban route originally operated east of Des Plaines River, and served the old Dellwood amusement park south of Lockport, which was owned by the interurban railway. Replaced with buses in 1933 by subsidiary Chicago & Joliet Transportation Co. Eventually operated into downtown Chicago, terminating at Trailways Bus Depot. Local interurban trains continued to operate between Chicago and Argo until 6/17/34, with replacement bus service introduced 6/25/34 by Chicago Surface Lines as its route 62A. Route acquired in 1936 by Bluebird Coach Lines. Moved to downtown Chicago Greyhound Terminal after its opening in 1953. Bus route eventually operated via Illinois Highway 53 between Lockport and Joliet, serving Stateville Prison. Under West Suburban Transit Lines, route was numbered #5. After West Suburban Transit Lines ceased operations in 1973, route operated by Valley Transit. On 9/29/75, route assumed by Joliet Mass Transit District, now the Pace Heritage Division. Service discontinued between Cicero/Cermak and downtown Chicago. Route began terminating at Midway Airport effective 10/31/93, when the CTA's Orange Line began service there. Effective 8/20/2000, most trips were rerouted to serve Orland Square Mall, primarily via La Grange Road and 143rd St. northeast of Lockport. With only one daily rush hour trip each way continuing over the old "interurban" route via Lemont. Route discontinued 11/24/2008 as part of a major restructuring of Joliet Pace routes, replaced with new route #832 between Orland Square Mall and Joliet. Passengers would thus be able to transfer at Orland Square to and from routes #384 and #386, operating to and from Midway Airport. When route #831 was discontinued, service was every three hours, as opposed to the hourly service provided by Bluebird Coach Lines until 1965. But with the new transfer arrangement with route #832, service is once again hourly all the way through.

832 - Joliet-Cicero - an alternate bus route, introduced by Chicago & Joliet Transportation Co. in 1928, acquired by Bluebird Coach Lines in 1936, and by West Suburban Transit Lines as route number #6. Route operated primarily via Illinois Highway 53 and US Highway 66 between Joliet and and downtown Chicago, terminating at Trailways Bus Depot. Moved to downtown Chicago Greyhound Terminal after its opening in 1953. After West Suburban Transit Lines ceased operations in 1973, route was then operated for a few years by Valley Transit. In 1975, Valley Transit set up a subsidiary S.W.I.F.T. (South West Interurban Fast Transit, Inc.). S.W.I.F.T. would operate the route under contract for RTA. Effective 7/1/78, route assumed by Joliet Mass Transit District as RTA route #832, and discontinued between Cicero/Cermak and downtown. Route operated by Pace Heritage Division until discontinuance effective 9/9/94.

832 - Joliet-Orland Square - introduced 11/24/2008 as part of a major restructuring of Joliet Pace routes, providing a replacement for route #831, discontinued between Joliet and Midway Airport.

833 - Joliet-United Parcel Service - introduced 7/13/98 between Joliet and UPS facility in Willow Springs, discontinued in 2002.

834 - Joliet-Yorktown - introduced 6/19/78, one of the few "new" interurban bus routes in the Chicago area. Between Lockport and Joliet operates of Des Plaines River, which had been served by the interurban railway. Local bus service between Lockport and Joliet was route #509, discontinued 2/25/91 as redundant.

835 - Southwest Suburban Chicago Express - introduced 6/5/78 as express bus route between Chicago and Orland Park, supplementing Metra Southwest Service trains, due to inadequate capacity of Metra line. Service was subsidized by Metra, and Metra fares applied, with buses generally stopping only at train stations. In early years, route was operated under contract by Continental Air Transport, which furnished motor coaches. Effective 1/30/2006, rail capacity expansion projects finally enabled Metra to make the rail line a full service line, and Metra discontinued the subsidy to Pace. Pace originally planned to discontinue the entire route. But Pace agreed to retain limited service between Chicago and Worth, meeting demands by a few vocal riders resistant to changing their riding habits. Service reduction would be effective 3/6/2006, with Metra fares replaced with Pace premium fare structure. Route finally discontinued 8/17/2007.

837 - Joliet-Naperville Express - short lived rush hour route introduced 8/20/98 between Joliet and Naperville office corridor.

838 - Joliet-Fox Valley Center - short lived rush hour route existed around 1999 between Joliet and Fox Valley mall.


BLUEBIRD COACH LINES/WEST SUBURBAN ROUTES

Bluebird Coach Lines operated eight bus routes between Chicago and the western suburbs, five of which were operated by West Suburban Transit Lines from 1965 until ceasing operations in 1973.

1 - Lyons - operated to downtown Chicago primarily via Ogden Ave. Reportedly a single "franchise trip" early Saturday morning only, after 1965 never operated by West Suburban Transit Lines.

2 - Hillside-Oakbrook Center - introduced 6/26/42. Operated from downtown Chicago via Washington Blvd. to Mannheim Rd., and extended in 1946 via Butterfield Rd. and Wolf Rd. to Hillside shopping center, and extended in 1962 via Butterfield Rd., York Rd., and 22nd St. to newly opened Oakbrook shopping center. After discontinuance of service, the route east of Mannheim Rd. was close enough to West Towns Bus Co. route #10 (now Pace #310), operating on Madison St. West of Mannheim Rd., the West Towns route was extended to Hillside shopping center. Service did not continue into Oakbrook.

3 - La Grange-Oakbrook Center - introduced 11/9/46 between downtown Chicago and Brookfield Zoo, extended in 1947 into La Grange, and eventually to Oakbrook shopping center. No replacement service was provided after complete discontinuance in 1973.

4 - Aurora - introduced in 1927 by Western Motor Coach Co., a bus subsidiary of the Chicago Aurora and Elgin Railroad. Eventually operated from downtown Chicago, primarily via Ogden Ave. and via La Grange and Hinsdale, ending in Aurora. In 1930, route was sold to Cannon Ball Motor Transportation Co., which in 1935 became part of Burlington Transportation Co., later Burlington Trailways. In 1955, route sold to Bluebird Coach Lines, after 1965 never operated by West Suburban Transit Lines.

5 - Joliet - evolved to Pace route 831, above.

6 - Joliet via US 66 - evolved to Pace route 832, above.

7 - Broadview-Oakbrook Center - introduced in 1957. Followed a route similar to that of route #2, but used Roosevelt Rd. between Desplaines Ave. and Wolf Rd. After discontinuance of service, West Towns Bus Co. created a new route #1 between the Forest Park/Desplaines Ave. CTA terminal and Hillside shopping center. This became Pace route #301.

8 - Desplaines Ave.-Oakbrook Center - reportedly one daily trip each way primarily via Roosevelt Rd., after 1965 never operated by West Suburban Transit Lines.


VALLEY TRANSIT

One of the more unusual chapters in the history of bus service in Chicago's Suburbs involved Valley Transit, which had acquired the two Joliet routes in 1973 after the demise of West Suburban Transit Lines, as well as the operating rights for the Aurora line, which West Suburban Transit Lines never operated. In 1975, Valley Transit set up a subsidiary S.W.I.F.T. (South West Interurban Fast Transit, Inc.), for the purpose of operating bus routes under contract with RTA. S.W.I.F.T. mainly operated what would become Pace route #832, although the January 1976 Russell's Official Motor Coach Guide also includes two round trips over the #831 route operated by S.W.I.F.T.

Valley Transit also set up another subsidiary, Coach Travel Unlimited, as a tour and charter operator. But in order to hold interstate charter rights, Coach Travel Unlimited operated service once a week over the two Joliet routes, and over the Aurora route, until deregulation of the bus industry in the 1980's.