October 14, 2004

In keeping with the Chicago Transit Authority's commitment to environmentally friendly initiatives, today the Chicago Transit Board approved the purchase of four hybrid-electric vehicles to include in the CTA's fleet of non-revenue vehicles. The Ford Escape hybrid-electric vehicles will replace older CTA non-revenue vehicles used by field personnel to monitor bus route performance, transport materials and travel to maintenance facilities. Hybrid technology vehicles, which use a gas engine and an electric motor, allow for improved gas mileage and reduced emission levels. This project is good for the air quality and tests another way for CTA to save money.

"Public transit is the best way for our region to combat traffic congestion and air pollution while also increasing access to businesses, jobs and schools," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Carole Brown. ?I am pleased the CTA is exploring additional avenues to further help the region's environmental health."

?When possible we try to incorporate innovative green technologies in our operations that have a positive impact on our environment and are cost effective," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?This capital investment will help the CTA determine if vehicle performance and cost savings can be realized in the long term by incorporating these vehicles into our non-revenue fleet."

The competitively bid contract was funded by the Federal Transit Administration and the Regional Transportation Authority. The CTA will consider future purchases of hybrid-electric vehicles following an evaluation of vehicle performance in field operations.

The $101,200 contract with Sutton Ford, Inc. of Matteson, Illinois, will allow the CTA to purchase four hybrid-electric vehicles which are reported to improve fuel economy by approximately 50 percent and mileage of more than 400 miles in the city, compared to the conventional V-6 Ford Escape model.

In addition to the purchase of these hybrid vehicles, the CTA has implemented other environmentally friendly practices within its transit operations. In March 2003, the CTA converted all diesel vehicles in its fleet of buses and non-revenue vehicles to ultra low sulfur diesel fuel (ULSD) to drastically reduce emissions.

The use of ULSD fuel, in combination with particulate matter filters, has enabled CTA's newest buses to experience a 90 to 95 percent reduction in emissions. Even older model buses ? those without particulate filters ? experience a five to 15 percent lower emissions level as a result of the conversion.

By converting to ULSD in 2003, the CTA is ahead of schedule in implementing the 2007 Federal Emission requirements for reduced particulate matter and carbon monoxide.

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