The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) announced that all 58 articulated hybrid buses purchased by the agency with federal stimulus funds have arrived and are in service.
The CTA, which received $241 million in stimulus funds, $50 million of which was used to fund the articulated hybrid bus purchase, now has 208 articulated hybrid buses in its fleet and estimates that the hybrid technology will help save the agency more than $7 million annually in parts, labor and fuel.
"These stimulus funds enabled the CTA to purchase these much-needed buses, which not only reduce costs through improved fuel efficiency and reliability, but also provide a quieter and smoother ride," said CTA President Richard L. Rodriguez. "With our budget constraints and nearly $7 billion in unfunded capital projects, it is a challenge to maintain and upgrade the fleet while still being fiscally prudent."
The 60-foot hybrid articulated buses are at least 30 percent more fuel efficient than the non-hybrid buses they replaced and are 60 percent lower in emissions. The buses also have increased rider capacity - up to 125 riders versus 80 riders on the older 40-foot buses. Other features include a plug-in that allows the batteries on the bus to remain charged when the bus is not in use. Power is drawn from the batteries to operate the auxiliary heater and circulate warm coolant through the engine block during overnight storage in cold weather. This eliminates the need to idle buses for startup.
CTA's other stimulus funded projects include track renewal and replacement in the Dearborn Subway. The agency recently completed the second of three phases of the $88 million track replacement project six weeks earlier than originally anticipated due to improvements in how the work was sequenced.