Agency rolls out electric buses on a second route after equipping one of its South Side facilities to support the operation of all-electric buses
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) today announced the roll-out of its newest fully accessible, all-electric buses to the #63 63rd route beginning this week after equipping its third bus facility to support all-electric buses. Today’s announcement marks the latest milestone in CTA’s efforts to convert to an electrified bus fleet by 2040 as part of CTA’s “Charging Forward Plan”.
"Improving bus services and connections for our most transit dependent riders has been and remains a priority for me and our expansion of all-electric buses to serve Chicago’s Far South Side is part of this commitment,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “Ensuring equity, the environment and the communities we serve are at the heart of our ‘Charging Forward’ Plan and we look forward to expanding the benefits of all-electric buses, especially to those communities that are disproportionately affected by air pollution, which are often those with low-income and minority populations.”
The #63 route, which serves riders from Woodlawn to Chrysler Village, is now the second bus route to feature all-electric buses and is the first electric bus route out of the CTA’s 74th Street Garage, which is located in Chicago’s South Side. The CTA has prioritized equipping garages that serve neighborhoods with the highest air pollution levels, to best serve the communities in areas with disproportionately higher health vulnerability risks.
In preparation for rolling out service along the #63 route, all bus operators based out of the 74th Street Garage received training on the specific features and systems of the new electric buses and how to operate them. The #63 route, which operates between 63rd/Stony Island and Midway, is one of CTA’s more heavily traveled bus routes, providing more than 2.4 million rides in 2022.
CTA currently has 25 electric buses in its fleet and three of its seven existing bus garages are now equipped with charging facilities for electric buses, with plans to purchase additional vehicles and expand to additional routes and garages in the coming years. Since unveiling the “Charging Forward Plan” last year, CTA has received $29 million in grant funds from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to be used towards the purchase of fully accessible, all-electric buses, as well as bus facility communication and safety improvements to accommodate the new vehicles.
Building upon a decade of leading an industry shift toward bus electrification, the CTA unveiled “Charging Forward: CTA Bus Electrification Planning Report” in February 2022 as a blueprint for the agency’s route to a full electric bus fleet and bus operational infrastructure over the next 18 years. Converting a bus fleet of more than 1,800 vehicles is a complex undertaking and will require new buses as well as charging station infrastructure and significant electrical power upgrades.
The first of the CTA’s Proterra 600-Series, began running on the #66 Chicago route. Roll-out of these buses along the #66 route was the first step in a larger plan to electrify all bus service along Chicago Avenue. To accommodate the electric buses, the CTA added en-route chargers at Navy Pier, with plans to add more chargers as electric buses are added to additional routes.
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B-roll (available for download): https://f.io/GO_SZjCW