Chicago to buy 125 new buses per Mayor's 'modernization' plan

Posted on August 13, 2015

Chicago Transit Authority
Chicago Transit Authority

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) plans to purchase 125 new buses as part of Mayor Emanuel’s plan to modernize the CTA’s bus fleet and improve service reliability and comfort for CTA customers.

Since 2011, the CTA has acquired an almost entirely new bus fleet. This includes 400 new buses purchased by CTA, excluding the 125 new buses announced today, and the nearly completed overhaul of more than 1,000 buses to make them like new and extend their lifespans. With the purchase of an additional 125 buses, nearly 85% of the CTA’s bus fleet will be new or like new.

“When I took office four years ago, the CTA was operating a rapidly aging fleet, with buses that were ready for retirement and trains that were more than 40 years old,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Today, I’m pleased to say that we continue to deliver on our promise to create a world-class transit system by investing in a modern fleet for customers.”

The new bus order, which is subject to approval by the Chicago Transit Board at its meeting on Wednesday, is part of a contract CTA awarded to Nova Bus in January 2013.

CTA has already purchased 300 buses as part of that contract and has added more than 230 of them so far to the agency’s bus fleet. Today’s action by the board allows the CTA to exercise a contract option to purchase an additional 125 buses, for a total of 425 new buses. The new buses will replace the oldest vehicles in the fleet – the Nova 6400-series buses, which were purchased between 2000-2002.

“Our goal is always to provide our customers with a safe, clean and reliable service, while also maintaining fiscal responsibility,” said CTA President Dorval Carter Jr. “By purchasing additional new buses, we’re  improving the customer experience and providing more reliable service by ridding our fleet of the oldest vehicles, which are at the point of requiring frequent and costly repairs.”

Each 40-foot bus will features modern LED lighting, multiple security cameras and improved fuel economy that will make customers’ rides more comfortable and reliable. The clean diesel buses will also be in compliance with the latest Environmental Protection Agency emissions standards and will meet and exceed all current Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, including two mobility device securement locations and an all-electric ramp with a decreased slope when deployed for easier access.

Since last June, CTA has gradually added new buses from the original contract order. The agency expects to begin receiving the first of the new 125 buses as early as May 2016.

Total value of the contract for the purchase of the 425 buses plus spare parts and tools is approximately $220 million. A combination of mostly federal formula funds and CTA bond proceeds are being used to fund this purchase

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