201: Central / Ridge

November 16, 2022

Holy shit, it’s been a moment since a bus route rant, and an even longer moment since I rode the 201 on … checks notes … September 23. I am behind. I know. I’m behind with a lot of things that aren’t school work. Yeah, I rode this the same day I rode the whole 151. After getting off the 151 that afternoon, I made my way to Howard using not only the 22, but the 22 and the Red Line from Jarvis (nobody takes the Red Line from Jarvis to Howard…).

The 201 is an interesting route on the CTA’s system. Not the most interesting, but more interesting than 90% of the system. The 201 is basically the Evanston local bus route. The route starts at Howard and goes north along Ridge, just west of the Purple Line, before interchanging with the Purple Line again at Davis. The area around Davis (which will get a future post soon) is basically the downtown area in Evanston. That’s a really nice area, and the bus passes right through headed east towards the lake. The bus turns north again along Sheridan, running right alongside the lake and past Northwestern University. The line turns along Central and interchanges with the Purple Line for a third time at Central before entering Skokie and ending at the Old Orchard Mall. The route has an Eliot Deviation Index of 1.66.

I had quite the pleasant experience riding the 201. Besides the fact that I missed the bus by a split second, the bus does run every 20 minutes between about 5 am and 8 pm on weekdays only. I got the chance to get and eat lunch during that 20 minute window, and just got the next bus. The bus wasn’t super packed (it was 2 in the afternoon on a Friday), but there was a decent crowd for Evanston. Everyone in the community seemed to use the 201. People got on and off at the Purple Line stations, and Northwestern seemed to be a key point along the route. Northwestern is a short walk away from the Purple Line, but the 201 is right there, and provides a one-seat ride to the mall.

Final thoughts - Don’t ride the entire 201 in one go, unless you actually want to ride the 201 in one go. There are multiple easier ways to go from Howard to the mall or even from Howard to Evanston. If only we had the Yellow Line go to the mall… but no, some rich people didn’t like it. But the 201 does wonders as a local route in Evanston. It does a good job at serving the areas not right along the Purple Line. Additionally, this is the best way to get from Evanston to Old Orchard. My only complaint is the lack of weekend service. The CTA is generally pretty good with weekend service, but for some reason the 201 doesn’t have it. Come on, it serves the mall.(Edited, see below.) My friend Stormy (if you don’t know who Stormy is - read every post from October 2022) wants to ride this route at some point as well. It’s not Evanston’s craziest route - that goes to the 206, which I need to ride at some point.

Update, February 2023: Turns out the 201 does have weekend service, I may have just missed it when writing this post! I took the 201 again for an On Zoning post, and the current headways have changed since. There are now 20 minute headways around the morning and evening rush, 30 minute headways middays, and 20 minute headways on Saturdays. Same service hours, and still no Sunday service on the 201. 30 minutes between buses is rough.

Posted: Nov 16, 2022 16:56


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