CTA Bus Customers May Encounter Challenges for Upcoming Rush Periods

February 19, 2009

Buses Will Remain Out of Service Until Inspected by Structural Expert

CTA is cautioning bus customers to allow additional time for upcoming rush periods starting this evening.  As a precaution CTA is removing from its fleet those 60 foot long articulated buses manufactured by North American Bus Industries (NABI) due to a structural crack in one of the buses. The buses will remain out of service until an independent structural expert can inspect them and advise the CTA on their safety. There have been no accidents or injuries related to this problem.

Today’s action will  result in more crowding during the peak rush hour periods because the CTA will have the equivalent of 90 fewer buses available for service at those times.  The most significant impact to customers is expected to be between 7:00 and 8:00 a.m. on weekday mornings and from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekday evenings.  
These buses represent 6 percent of CTA’s bus fleet and have generally been assigned to routes that operate along the Lakefront.  CTA is deploying information specialists at select downtown bus stops this afternoon to advise customers who travel on buses during these times to allow extra travel time and expect more crowded conditions.  Where possible, CTA is also recommending that riders consider adjusting their travel time or switching to rail service instead.  Additional rush period trains have been added on the Red, Blue, Brown, Green and Pink lines.

“We deeply regret the inconvenience that this will cause our customers, but we believe it is best not to continue using these buses for service until we have an assessment from the experts,” said Acting CTA President Dorval Carter.   “The safety of bus riders has to be our priority.”

The CTA purchased 226 of the accordion-style buses from NABI beginning in 2003. The buses have a warranty for 500,000 miles or 12 years.  The bus that failed was approximately five years old and had 152,000 miles.  

It is important to note that NABI is just one manufacturer of articulated buses used in the CTA’s fleet.  The CTA recently began procuring articulated buses from New Flyer of America, Inc. and currently has 94 of its buses in the fleet, with new ones arriving at a rate of about three per week.   The New Flyer buses are not affected by today’s action.

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