November 10, 1999

The CTA Board Wednesday agreed to exercise the first option of a contract it approved in July, 1998, to purchase new low-floor, air-conditioned buses from Nova BUS Corp., of St. Eustache, Quebec, Canada. Final assembly of the buses will be in Schenectady, New York.

Manufacture of the base order of 150 buses is expected to begin next spring, with delivery to be completed next fall. The initial purchase price will be $239,107 per bus. The option approved by the Board Wednesday allows for the purchase of up to 160 more buses, at $230,826 per bus, starting in 2001. A second option would bring the total to 450 buses by 2002.

"We can thank the leadership of Mayor Daley and Governor Ryan in pushing for the Illinois FIRST program that provides the local funding needed to purchase these buses," said CTA Chairman Valerie B. Jarrett. "Once we receive all 450 buses, about 95 percent of our fleet will be ADA accessible, and nearly 70 percent will be air-conditioned."

The new Nova buses are 40 feet long and will have double front doors that make a four-foot-wide entryway. The floor of each bus is just 14.6 inches off the ground, or about 20 inches lower than the third step on a standard bus. The buses also have a kneeling feature that lowers the entrance step to 10.6 inches, making it easier for seniors to board, and a front door ramp that provides access for persons with disabilities.

In addition to air-conditioning, the buses will have hopper windows above the large fixed side windows that can be opened for ventilation. There will be seating for 37 passengers, including two bench seats that can be flipped up for customers in wheelchairs. The rear exit will be at the same level as the front entrance, and steps farther back will lead to an elevated deck of seats.

CTA President Frank Kruesi said, "This is the first major bus purchase that has been made using the Standard Bus Procurement Guidelines we helped develop with our peer agencies. It provides our customers with state-of-the-art equipment that will be as environmentally friendly as possible. It will also allow big savings in maintenance costs through warranties that make the manufacturer responsible for correcting equipment failures over a longer period of time."

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