South Suburban Safeway Lines was formed in 1933 as a reorganization of South Suburban Motor Coach. Some routes were originated by Illinois Roadway Lines, which was consolidated into South Suburban Motor Coach in 1930.
Additional bus companies operating in the south suburbs from the 1920's into the 1950's included Gold Star Line, Schappi Bus Line, and Shore Line Motor Coach Co., which in 1941 became Chicago & Calumet District Transit.
Several routes had operated into downtown Chicago, terminating at the Trailways Bus Depot. By the 1960's, buses instead were making downtown stops along Michigan Ave.
In the mid 1970's, RTA assigned universal numbers to all suburban bus routes. South Suburban Safeway Lines had not publicly used route numbers, internally assigning letters.
349 - Western Ave. - was South Suburban Safeway Lines route A, introduced during early 1920's by South Suburban Motor Coach Co. from Blue Island south, competing with and later replacing portion of Chicago & Interurban Traction line. Early bus route actually had continued south of Harvey to Homewood via Park Ave., and east into Thornton. In 1927, route extended from Blue Island and Racine/63rd CTA station via Western Ave. and 63rd St. Prior to 7/26/31, South Suburban Safeway Lines had been the only operator of transit service south of 79th St. On that date, Chicago Surface Lines extended its Western Ave. streetcar route south of 79th St., service which evolved to CTA bus route #49A. The South Suburban Safeway route had originally been assigned #351 by RTA. South Suburban Safeway route had operated to Halsted/63rd CTA station via Western Ave. and 63rd St. Effective 9/26/77 service discontinued north of 95th St./Evergreen Plaza shopping center. Effective 3/1/82 amidst RTA funding crisis, service suspended north of 119th St. Service restored north to 79th St. effective 4/8/84, route renumbered #349, and coordinated with CTA route #49A. CTA discontinued #49A weekend service on 10/5/97, weekday non rush hour service on 12/28/97, and remaining weekday rush hour service on 12/16/2012. Pace is now the only operator of service south of 79th St., having increased service each time to replace discontinued CTA service.
350 - Sibley - effective 7/29/25, Schappi Bus Line introduced a route between Harvey and Hammond via Sibley Blvd., similar to the present route. Schappi Bus Line ceased operations around 1950's, presumably resulting in discontinuance of route. Eventually under South Suburban Safeway Lines, service on Sibley Blvd. consisted of branches of routes #353 and #355, operating to and from downtown Chicago, along with an extension of the first route #354. Present route introduced 8/17/81 as route #347, renumbered #350 effective 1/3/83.
352 - Halsted St. - was South Suburban Safeway Lines route B. Introduced in 1927 by Illinois Roadway Lines between downtown Chicago and Kankakee, basically via Halsted St. between 63rd St. and Chicago Heights, and via South Park Ave. (now King Dr.) north of 63rd St. In 1933, discontinued north of Halsted/63rd CTA station, and in 1935, service south of Crete assumed by intercity carrier Southern Limited. By 1970's, operated between Harvey and Chicago Heights primarily via Wood St. and Dixie Hwy. Prior to then another separate route had existed, introduced in 1927 by Illinois Roadway Lines between Blue Island and Chicago Heights basically via Dixie Hwy. Also by 1970's, south terminal changed to Park Forest Plaza, with service between Chicago Heights and Crete assumed by shuttle route #363. Service via Halsted St. between Harvey and Chicago Heights did not exist for a while until 8/29/77, when route #370 was introduced. Effective 9/26/77 route #352 changed to operate between 95th/Dan Ryan CTA terminal and Chicago Heights. Service between Park Forest and Chicago Heights was replaced by route #366. In 1978 service extended beyond Chicago Heights through Steger to Sauk Village. Effective 3/1/82 amidst RTA funding crisis, service suspended north of 127th St., restored north to 119th St. 6/6/82. Service restored north to 95th/Dan Ryan effective 9/8/85, coordinated with new CTA route #108. CTA service north of 127th St. had been provided by route #8A, connecting with Dan Ryan rapid transit at 79th St. Route 8A continued to operate as far south at 119th St., somewhat duplicating the coordinated #108/#352 service. Effective 4/23/90, service south of Chicago Heights replaced with extension of #358 route. Effective 12/28/97, CTA cut back #108 service to weekday rush hours only. Pace at the same time increased service over northern portion of route. Effective 6/7/2009 as part of a major restructuring of south suburban Pace routes, route revised south of Harvey to again operate primarily via Halsted St. to and from Chicago Heights, replacing route #370. On that date, segment between Harvey and Homewood replaced by new route #356, and segment between Homewood and Chicago Heights replaced by new route #372.
353 - 95th-Riverdale-Homewood - was South Suburban Safeway Lines route C. Service introduced in 1924 by Gold Star Line between 111th St. in Roseland neighborhood, and Thornton. In 1929, Illinois Roadway Lines introduced a route between downtown Chicago and Chicago Heights, but not carrying local passengers north of Thornton. In 1936, South Suburban Safeway Lines acquired the Gold Star Line route, enabling consolidation into a single local route. Service south of Ridge Rd. into Chicago Heights originally involved Glenwood Road, but eventually shifted to via Chicago Rd., and operated until 8/29/77. Formerly operated into downtown Chicago, originally via South Park Ave. (now King Dr.), and after 1961 via newly opened Dan Ryan Expressway north of 95th St. Downtown service interrupted few months in 1981, due to a shortage of buses, many of which at the time were the problem plagued Grumman buses. Effective 3/1/82, RTA funding crisis forced route to be cut back to Riverdale train station. And effective 9/8/85, combined with former Pace route #356 in a route restructuring, enabling route to operate to 95th/Dan Ryan CTA terminal. Route used King Dr. north of 111th St. Effective 6/7/2009 as part of a major restructuring of south suburban Pace routes, alternate trips would operate to River Oaks Mall instead of Ridge/Halsted. And effective 12/16/2012, with CTA route #115 introduced via King Dr., route #353 revised to operate express north of 130th St.
354 - Harvey-River Oaks - was part of South Suburban Safeway Lines route D. This route had no relation with the present route #354. Original route introduced by early 1920's from Dolton via 144th St., Ivanhoe train station into Harvey, and east into South Holland. Segment from Harvey to South Holland was later discontinued, and service extended east from Dolton via Sibley Blvd. and Torrence Ave. to River Oaks Mall, which opened in 1966. East portion of route modified 8/17/81 after introduction of present Pace route #350 on Sibley Blvd., operating via Dolton Rd. and State Rd. to the Indiana state line. The other part of route D operated west of Harvey, eventually evolving to present route #365. Route discontinued 4/6/84.
354 - Harvey-Tinley Park - introduced 11/24/86 between Harvey and Orland Square Mall, primarily via 147th St. On 3/25/2000, revised to operate west to Tinley Park instead of Orland Square Mall, with route #364 instead serving Orland Square Mall. Effective 6/7/2009 as part of a major restructuring of south suburban Pace routes, service discontinued west of Cicero Ave. to and from Tinley Park, with segment replaced with revision of route #386. On that date, new service introduced via 167th St.
355 - Wentworth-Lansing - was South Suburban Safeway Lines route E. Had its origins in 1938 with a route from Dolton via State Rd. to Calumet City, and south via Wentworth Ave. and Ridge Rd. to Torrence Ave., in Lansing. From 1940 until 6/7/2009, route operated between downtown Chicago and Lansing. Except for an interruption of few months in 1981, due to a shortage of buses, many of which at the time were the problem plagued Grumman buses. Original downtown Chicago routing mainly involved South Park Ave. (now King Dr.) and Doty Ave. between 115th St. and 130th St. After 1961 used newly opened Calumet Expressway and Dan Ryan Expressway north of 130th St. Operated though Chicago's Hegewisch neighborhood via 130th St., Baltimore Ave., and Brainard Ave., passing the South Shore Line station. Downtown service and mid day service discontinued effective 6/7/2009 as part of a major restructuring of south suburban Pace routes. On that date would become a rush hour only feeder route connecting with South Shore Line trains at Hegewisch station.
356 - Altgeld Gardens - was South Suburban Safeway Lines route F. Route originally formed in 1947 as branch of #353 route, serving newly opened Altgeld Gardens housing project. At the time, the only Chicago Surface Lines routes in the area were streetcars, and it was impractical for CSL to extend its streetcar line or provide its own connecting buses. For many years, this was the only bus route entirely within city of Chicago to be operated by a suburban bus company. This was also the only suburban bus route with all night service. Route had operated via King Dr. between downtown Chicago and 111th St. Briefly during 1950's, an alternate route existed via South Chicago Ave., Stony Island Ave., Doty Ave., 130th St. Effective 9/26/77 service cut back to 95th/Dan Ryan CTA terminal. In 1981 amidst RTA funding crisis, CTA began operating certain route #34 buses into Altgeld Gardens, replacing the overnight and Sunday #356 service. And effective 9/8/85, route #356 combined with route #353, operating through from 95th St. into south suburbs. Meanwhile, CTA began operating its #34 route into Altgeld Gardens, after previously operating that route south to 138th/Indiana.
356 - Harvey-Homewood-Tinley Park - introduced 6/7/2009 as part of a major restructuring of south suburban Pace routes, replacing portion of route #352 primarily on Wood St., and providing new service on 183rd St.
357 - Lincoln Highway - was South Suburban Safeway Lines route H. First bus service was introduced in 1924 by Chicago Heights & Joliet Transportation Co. between those cities, replacing the Joliet & Eastern Traction Co., an interurban railway which had been abandoned the year before. For many years that route was operated by Gold Star Line. In 1931, Chicago Heights & Joliet Transportation Co. introduced a route connecting various parts of Chicago Heights with Olympia Fields Country Club, mainly for the benefit of country club employees. Feeder service to the 211th St. Illinois Central commuter station was once operated by Chicago Heights Transportation Co., and was advertised for many years in Illinois Central timetables. In 1950's, some Gold Star service was sold to South Suburban Safeway Lines. Service east of Chicago Heights introduced in 1949 by South Suburban Safeway Lines, as part of route extending to Calumet City, continuing via Stony Island Ave., Glenwood Dyer Rd., and Burnham Ave. By 1970's discontinued east of East Chicago Heights, now Ford Heights. Service then existed as far west as 211th St. station until 9/25/77, when route was extended west to Lincoln Mall.
358 - Torrence - introduced 7/6/82 between Hegewisch South Shore Line station and 186th St./Torrence. Effective 4/23/90, extended south over present routing to Chicago Heights. A portion of this extension replaced an extension of route #352. Had operated both directions via Torrence to 130th St. until 4/27/92, prior to then the Hegewisch station was located northwest of the present location.
359 - Robbins-Kedzie - was South Suburban Safeway Lines route G east of Western Ave., and route J west of Western Ave. Route G was introduced in 1940 primarily on 127th St. and Vermont St., between Michigan Ave. and Blue Island, terminating at 119th St. and Vincennes Ave. And route J was introduced in 1943 between Vermont St. and Western Ave. in Blue Island, and 139th St. and Monticello Ave. in Robbins. Later, a one way counterclockwise loop was adopted through Robbins, returning directly northbound via Kedzie Ave. from 139th St. During 1960's, some service was extended downtown via newly opened Dan Ryan Expressway, but this was not successful. Around 1970 route took present form west of Halsted St. as South Suburban Safeway Lines route J, discontinued to 119th St. and Vincennes Ave. and continuing one way counterclockwise loop through Robbins. Service continued to operate east of Halsted St. In late 1970's discontinued east of Halsted St. and extended south of 139th St. on Kedzie Ave. Extended 11/18/2001 north to 95th/Dan Ryan CTA terminal.
360 - Harvey-Phoenix - was South Suburban Safeway Lines route K, in early 1970's combined as an extension of route A, discontinued 6/81.
360 - Harvey-Amazon Monee - rush hour route introduced 8/13/2017, serving a new Amazon facility.
361 - Harvey-Holbrook - was a branch of South Suburban Safeway Lines route B, discontinued 3/27/81.
361 - Harvey-Laraway Crossings Express - rush hour route introduced 10/23/2016, serving a new Amazon facility.
362 - South Park Forest - was part of South Suburban Safeway Lines route H. Feeder bus to 211th St. train station until 12/77, when changed to serve Richton Park station. All day service was provided until 3/10/80, when it became rush hours only. Primarily served south Park Forest, extended 12/29/97 to replace discontinued portions of route #369. Discontinued 3/1/2019.
363 - Crete-Steger - was part of South Suburban Safeway Lines route H. Service between Chicago Heights and Crete discontinued 8/14/81, with service between Chicago Heights and Steger continuing to be provided extension of route #352. Effective 4/23/90, service between Chicago Heights and Steger became part of Pace route #358.
364 - 159th Street - in 1938, Schappi Bus Line introduced a route between Harvey and Hammond via 159th St., similar to the present route east of Harvey. Schappi Bus Line ceased operations around 1950's, presumably resulting in discontinuance of route. Present route introduced 11/17/75, operating from Hammond through River Oaks Mall, Harvey, to Tinley Park. On 3/25/2000, revised to operate west to Orland Square Mall instead of Tinley Park, with route #354 instead operating into Tinley Park, replaced effective 6/7/2009 with route #386 into Tinley Park.
365 - Midlothian-Oak Forest - was part of South Suburban Safeway Lines route D, introduced in 1928 by South Suburban Motor Coach Co., originally via 147th St. and Cicero Ave. to 159th St. In 1939, an extension south via Cicero Ave., 167th St., and Oak Park Ave. to 177th St. was introduced, but that extension apparently did not survive long. Service on 159th St. was introduced in 1943, and route became a loop also involving 159th St. and Dixie Hwy. The other part of route D operated east of Harvey to and from River Oaks Mall, and under RTA became the original route numbered #354. 159th St. portion became part of new #364 route 11/17/75, remainder of route discontinued 6/81. New route #354 introduced 11/24/86, serving that portion of 147th St.
366 - Park Forest-Chicago Heights - was an extension of South Suburban Safeway Lines route B, later RTA route #352. Introduced by 1978 as separate route.
367 - University Park - introduced 9/26/77, replacing route created by village of Park Forest South in 1974. Took present basic form 11/20/77 when Illinois Central (now Metra Electric) extension opened. Effective 8/28/78, extended south to Monee, replacing route #372. Monee extension discontinued by early 1981, with route reverting to present form, and Monee left with no transit service. University Park was renamed from Park Forest South in early 1980's.
368 - Frankfort - short lived route introduced 9/26/77 between Park Forest and Frankfort, via Lincoln Highway. Discontinued 6/81, leaving Frankfort with no transit service other than dial a ride.
369 - Park Forest Local - feeder bus introduced 9/26/77 from Richton Park station, serving central Park Forest. All day service was provided until 3/10/80, when it became rush hours only. Discontinued 12/29/97, with route #362 modified to serve portions of discontinued route.
370 - Harvey-Chicago Heights - introduced 8/29/77 between Harvey and Chicago Heights primarily via Halsted St., after a period without service via this segment. Service originally part of a route introduced in 1927 by Illinois Roadway Lines between downtown Chicago and Kankakee. That route eventually evolved to Pace route #352, instead operating between Harvey and Chicago Heights primarily via Wood St. and Dixie Hwy. Effective 6/7/2009 as part of a major restructuring of south suburban Pace routes, route #352 revised to again operated via this segment, and route #370 discontinued.
371 - Richton Park - Introduced 9/26/77 between Park Forest and Richton Park, primarily via Sauk Trail. Discontinued 5/6/82.
372 - Monee - Introduced 9/26/77 between Park Forest and Monee, via Sauk Trail and Governor's Highway. Discontinued 3/10/80, with portion of route combined with route #367.
372 - Dixie Highway - service basically introduced in 1927 by Illinois Roadway Lines between Chicago Heights and Blue Island, basically via Dixie Hwy. and Western Ave., continuing north via 127th St. and Vincennes Ave. to 119th St. By 1950's, route was serving Harvey. And by 1970's, service discontinued north of Homewood, with service south of Homewood evolving to become part of what became Pace route #352. Effective 6/7/2009 as part of a major restructuring of south suburban Pace routes, this route introduced, replacing that portion of route #352.
From 6/1/81 to 6/8/81, South Suburban Safeway Lines was shut down because of the RTA funding crisis at the time, when the RTA did not have the cash to pay to keep the company operating. When service was restored, it was on a limited basis, initially rush hours only. Sunday service was not restored until 4/8/84.
(The map images may take a while to download, with a dial-up connection.)
Click for Calumet City-Dolton Bus Map
Click for Chicago Heights Bus Map
(Maps show routes of multiple carriers as of around 1930's or 1940's, after 1950's South Suburban Safeway Lines was only remaining bus carrier in the area.)