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New Pace Pulse buses will have tech to communicate with traffic signals

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It means buses will be able to run express by coordinating a wave of green lights

A front view of a purple public transit bus with white letters spelling Pulse.
Pace Pulse bus
Image courtesy of Pace

Earlier this summer, the suburban bus system Pace announced its new Pulse rapid transit line which will begin in August. The new purple buses will use transit signal priority technology that allows operators to cue up a wave of green lights.

The buses will also have wifi and USB charging ports, too. Construction on new accessible stations with raised platforms along the route will wrap up in fall or early winter, Pace said. Most of thee stations will also have bike racks, real-time bus arrival information, heated shelters with seating, and snow-melt pavement.

The improved route, which runs he Jefferson Park Transit Center in Chicago along Milwaukee Avenue to Golf Mill in Niles, will launch on Sunday, August 11 and cost $2.

After seeing a 4 percent ridership decline in the past three years, the bus system is working on improving service, buses, and stations. In March, the agency shut down five underperforming bus routes and plans to end seven more later this year. It helped free up $1.2 million in the budget that was partly used to help launch the new Pulse line.

“Pulse represents the next generation of Pace service,” said Pace Chairman Richard Kwasneski in a statement. “The frequency and affordability of this service will improve access to jobs, education, medical care, shopping and entertainment for the residents we serve.”

Pace’s 2020 plan involves expanding Pulse to a 24-line network that offers streamlined, reliable service from suburb to suburb. The six other routes prioritized for development in the next 10 years include Dempster Street, Halsted Street, 95th Street, Cermak Road, Harlem Avenue, and Roosevelt Road.

In Chicago, the bus system still isn’t always reliable during rush hours or high-traffic times. Even downtown, where the CTA spent $41 million on Loop Link bus rapid transit corridor, service has only slightly sped up, according to Streetsblog Chicago.