The CTA Board Wednesday approved a contract to provide compressed natural gas (CNG) for its fleet of 23 CNG cargo vans. Eight of the vans were purchased earlier this year as part of the CTA's ongoing commitment to meeting the highest environmental standards possible in the operation of its bus, rail and maintenance fleets.
CNG vans are used by CTA maintenance personnel to service facilities throughout the system, and meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Ultra Low Emission Vehicle rating. The $80,000 contract awarded Wednesday to the Peoples Natural Gas Vehicle (NGV) Corporation will allow CTA to refuel its vans at Peoples NGV facilities in Chicago for a period of two years.
In addition to using CNG vans, the CTA has taken other environmentally friendly initiatives in recent years. The CTA was the first transit agency in the world to test fuel cell buses in regular service. The two-year test, which ended in March, 2000, involved three fuel cell buses operating more than 30,000 miles in all seasons, and emitting nothing more than water vapor.
In a more recent effort to reduce engine emissions in its vehicles, the CTA is continuing to take delivery of a fleet of 469 air-conditioned, low-floor Nova buses. Advancements in diesel technology have made the new buses much more environmentally friendly than the 15-year-old models they are replacing, which were introduced at a time of much less restrictive emissions standards.
According to certification data provided by the manufacturer to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the new Nova buses produce emissions that are 47 percent lower than those of the standard-sized, non-accessible and non-air conditioned M.A.N. buses they are replacing. The emissions of particulate matter alone are 92 percent less per bus for Novas than for M.A.N. buses.
?The CTA recognizes its responsibility as a good corporate citizen to make practical use of the latest technology available to help improve the environment in the communities we serve," said CTA Chairman Valerie B. Jarrett. "The testing of fuel cell buses and our purchase of CNG vans and Nova buses demonstrate our commitment to reducing emissions in the operation of our fleets."
The CTA has also been able to reduce emissions on some of its older buses. About 250 TMC and Flxible buses now at least 10 years old have had their engines rebuilt to more stringent standards, resulting in 60 percent lower particulate emissions per bus. In addition, 200 articulated buses on order from North American Bus Industries, Inc. will meet EPA-approved Year 2002 emissions standards when they begin arriving next winter, replacing buses that have been in service since the 1980s.
?Over the years, the CTA has been an innovator in testing technologies that are applicable to transit operations," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. "Working with other transit operators and vendors, we will continue to help develop low emission fuel strategies and find new ways to reuse and recycle the many materials that are used in CTA operations."
Peoples Energy President Tom Patrick said, "We are pleased that our network of gas fueling sites will be used by the CTA to meet their commitment to clean air. The CTA's expanded use of NGVs is an excellent application of this efficient, clean-burning fuel, and we are proud to support their efforts."
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