Transit Campaigns

Chicago’s public transit fails to reach hundreds of thousands of Southside residents, leaving them no realistic alternative to expensive and polluting car travel. Many train lines have slowed to a crawl as the Chicago Transit Authority struggles to fix train tracks that finally reached the breaking point after years of neglect. In 2007, there were 60% fewer passenger trips on the Southside CTA train lines than on the North Side lines, with roughly equal population. As a result, hundreds of thousands of Southside residents are not able to access a transit system that would enable them to save money on gas and reach jobs that are often located in far‐flung suburban industrial parks. The lack of jobs on the Southside leads to much longer commute times for Southside residents than for people in any other part of the city.

31st St. Bus Campaign
There is no permanent east-west bus route between Cermak and 35th Street. Tens of thousands of people without cars live in this area and are unable to get to the many medical facilities, employment centers, and recreation opportunities (including the new 31st Street Harbor) along 31st St. SOUL and the Bridgeport Alliance are working to secure a commitment by the Chicago Transit Authority for a permanent 31st Street Bus route from Cicero to the lakefront.

SOUL's Metra Electric "Gold Line" Proposal

SOUL is organizing to push Chicago’s transit agencies to turn the Metra Electric South Chicago branch train line from Randolph/Michigan to 93rd St./Baltimore into a more effective train line that will serve tens of thousands of Southside residents. This line runs through one of the most densely populated areas of the South Side, but many Southside residents do not ride the line because service is infrequent (just once per hour during most of the day), transfers between CTA and Metra are limited, and there is a huge gap between 27th St. and 47th St. with no stops.

SOUL’s proposal - which the organization is calling the ‘Gold Line” - is to make the following improvements on the Metra Electric:
  • Run trains to/from Randolph/Michigan and 93rd St./Baltimore every ten minutes from 6:00 a.m. until 12:00 midnight
  • Accept CTA fares and allow transfers between CTA and Metra
  • Upgrade stations at 59th Street and 63rd Street and build a new station at 35th Street

The state government has passed SOUL's legislation mandating a universal fare card for CTA, Metra, and PACE, including fare transferability between the three transit systems. Other components of the Gold Line proposal are currently in a process of study and public consultation.

Elected officials endorsing the Gold Line: Congressman Danny Davis, State Sen. Kwame Raoul, State Rep. Marlow Colvin, State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, Alderman Will Burns,Alderman Willie Cochran, Alderman Leslie Hairston, Alderman Michelle Harris, Alderman SandiJackson, and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

Other Campaign Victories:
Metra announced in September 2011 a proposed fare increase of 58-67% for riders coming to and from stations within the Chicago city limits, while suburban riders would have paid fare increases of 30% or less. SOUL immediately mobilized riders, got state legislators to push Metra, moved the issue in the media, turned out for Metra’s board meeting, and threatened further action. Metra backed down and reduced the fare increase for city riders to roughly the same level as the increase for suburban riders.

For more information on how you can help call SOUL at 773.363.0199.