CTA Modernizes Bus Fleet

Over the next two years, the CTA will put almost 1500 new or renovated buses on Chicago’s streets.

CTA customers can look forward to a smoother and quieter ride, including more reliable heating and air conditioning systems and a better chance of getting a seat on the bus during peak hours on popular routes, officials said.

The transit agency sees the opportunity to get a fuller life out of its younger buses and retire the oldest and worst pollution-belchers in the fleet, officials said.

CTA President Forrest Claypool said he projects the agency will reduce maintenance costs by millions of dollar annually, money that potentially could be pumped into providing more bus service.

CTA officials say other major benefits include cutting smog emissions by one-third and asthma-causing soot particulates by more than half, compared with the current fleet mix.

Under the plan, the CTA will buy 325 40-foot buses and 100 60-foot articulated or accordion-style buses, using the CTA’s bond funds backed by sales taxes, officials told the Tribune. No state or federal funds are anticipated, they added.

The bus orders will be for a combination of diesel-electric hybrids and lower-emission all-diesel vehicles, officials said. The estimated cost of the purchases is $330 million, officials said, adding that companies will be asked to submit bids for the bus order soon.

The first new buses will begin arriving later this year, and deliveries will be completed over the next two years, CTA officials said.

The 425 new buses are separate from the CTA’s purchase in May of 100 brand-new New Flyer Industries articulated buses that became available from a contract involving the Seattle transit system. Those 100 buses, which the CTA is acquiring for $80.1 million, are set to arrive in Chicago late this year through mid-2013.

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