November 8, 2004

The Chicago Transit Board today approved the purchase of 265 new CTA buses designated to replace older buses in CTA's fleet that have reached the end of their useful life. The 40-foot, low-floor, accessible, air-conditioned buses will help to improve service reliability and the overall transit experience for many CTA bus customers. The purchase includes 20 environmentally friendly diesel hybrid buses that are powered by both diesel engines and electric motors to help reduce emissions. The new buses will replace 5300-series Flxible buses purchased by the CTA in 1991.

?We are grateful to the RTA and to our region's Congressional delegation, which has shown remarkable bipartisan cooperation in successfully securing capital funds to continue investment in CTA's infrastructure," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Carole Brown. ?We are hopeful that the Illinois General Assembly will show similar bipartisan cooperation in providing increased operating funding not just for CTA, but for Pace and Metra as well."

Without the continued capital investment in the CTA's infrastructure, the system would fall into a state of disrepair and jeopardize the vital components that make public transportation safe, reliable and convenient.

"Investing in the CTA's fleet and facilities remains a top priority. It takes years of planning to develop a strategy and secure funding to make significant capital improvements that provide significant benefits to our customers. Improving our infrastructure is not a process to which we can commit and then abandon," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?The CTA provides an essential service to this region each and every day and we have worked hard to rebuild an infrastructure that was in a state of disrepair only a decade ago."

The $94.9 million investment in the CTA's bus fleet is funded with federal formula funds from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Illinois FIRST bonds from the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA).

Equipped with low emission engines, the new buses will have the same amenities that are part of CTA's existing bus fleet including surveillance cameras, bike racks, the automated announcement system and automatic passenger counters that provide CTA with route usage information to assist in developing schedules.

By including 20 hybrid buses as part of the purchase, CTA will be able to evaluate the performance of the environmentally friendly vehicles in Chicago's extreme weather conditions. Performance results will help determine if hybrid buses are suitable as future additions to CTA's fleet.

The competitively bid contract approved by the board today provides options for the purchase of up to 1,050 buses through New Flyer of America, Inc. as capital funding becomes available.

The bus purchase is the CTA's next step in its ongoing effort to upgrade its fleet of trains and buses. Since 2000, the CTA has ordered 484 buses from Nova Bus and 226 low-floor, articulated buses from North American Bus Industries, Inc.

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