CTA Introduces New 30-Foot Optima Bus Model to Fleet

June 21, 2006
06/21/06University of Chicago Routes Among those Getting Upgrade

Chicago Transit Authority today introduced the prototype for its newest addition to the CTA fleet. Later this summer, 45 new
30-foot Optima buses, which are shorter and narrower than standard 40-foot buses, will begin providing service to University of Chicago bus routes in Hyde Park, as well as other routes in neighborhoods with narrow streets and lower peak ridership.

?Upgrading the bus fleet with these slightly smaller buses will allow CTA to better allocate its resources throughout the service area, much like having the right tool for the job," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?New buses not only improve the reliability of service, but having a smaller-sized bus in the fleet allows us to better match service with ridership and realize cost efficiencies that come from operating a smaller vehicle."

The first 10 new Optima buses to arrive will replace 10
16-year-old buses currently operating on the #170,171, 172, 173 and #192. CTA purchased the older, high mileage buses from Pace in order to make the CTA fleet fully accessible to people with disabilities while waiting on the new Optima buses. Orion buses are 35-feet in length. The 30-foot Optima will be much more suited for maneuvering easily through the University of Chicago campus.

"Continued investment in CTA's fleet and infrastructure helps CTA to more effectively meet customer demand and helps to attract new customers to public transit as well," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Carole Brown. ?We are grateful to our region's Congressional delegation, which has shown remarkable bipartisan cooperation in successfully securing capital funds to continue investment in CTA's infrastructure, including the purchase of new buses."

Equipped with low emission engines, the low floor, air conditioned, accessible buses will have the same amenities that are part of CTA's existing bus fleet, including surveillance cameras, bike racks, next stop announcement system and automatic passenger counters that provide route usage information to help monitor ridership patterns.

The $15.5 million competitively bid contract to Optima Bus Corporation of Wichita, Kansas was approved by the Chicago Transit Board in September 2005. The base order of 45 buses is funded through grants from the Federal Transit Administration and Regional Transportation Authority.

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