VALPARAISO | Ridership isn't the only thing increasing for the ChicaGo Dash express commuter service to the Loop. So are the cost of gas and the tolls.
For that reason, the cost of a one-way and a round trip ticket will increase by 50 cents and $1 respectively to $8 and $16. The cost of the monthly tickets will remain at $230 and 10-ride tickets will stay at $70.
The increase will go into effect in early fall, but an exact date has not been set. City Planning Director Tyler Kent said riders will be notified of a public hearing on the proposed change to be held before action by the city's Board of Public Works and Safety.
The Dash's new bus station at the west end of the parking lot is scheduled to open Sept. 3. The shelter, built with funds from the federal stimulus program obtained in 2009, was delayed for the expected installation of a new storm sewer under the nearby Rail America tracks.
The storm sewer project has been stymied by poor soil conditions under the tracks that have made it difficult to find a suitable location. Although the storm sewer project is now slated for 2014, the station was built and will replace the space now leased from the Franklin House.
The glass-enclosed shelter will have an office for riders to buy tickets and space to hang their bicycles. It will be heated for waiting riders in the winter. The exact boarding location for the buses still is being worked out but will be near the station.
The Dash had an average of 109 riders each way on the four routes in July, which was a slight drop from June, but the total ridership of 4,798 was a new high. The Dash now is equipped with Bus Tracker, an app for Apple and Android phones that gives people real time information on where the buses are.
Bus Tracker data also is available online at www.chicagodash.com by clicking on the "Map and schedules" prompt on the right side of the page.