CTA Introduces New Low Emissions Bus Coming to Fleet in ‘06

November 8, 2005
11/8/05

Bus Upgrade Includes 20 Diesel Electric Hybrids

The Chicago Transit Authority unveiled the prototype model of its newest bus purchase today. The 40-foot, low floor, accessible, air conditioned buses will further improve service reliability and provide increased environmental benefits because they will be equipped with low emission engines. The $95 million order of 265 buses includes 20 diesel electric hybrids that are powered by both diesel engines and electric motors to further reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiency. The new buses will replace existing 5300-series Flxible buses in CTA's fleet that were purchased in 1991.

?This bus purchase represents the CTA's continued work to upgrade its fleet. With each bus purchase the CTA incorporates new environmentally-friendly technology so that we reduce emissions and our fleet continues to evolve and improve," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?In addition to 20 hybrid buses, the entire order includes low emission engines, which will further reduce annual emissions levels of the CTA fleet by 203 tons ? or 10 percent."

Each New Flyer bus will produce 60 percent fewer emissions than the 1991 bus it will replace.

?The support we have received from the RTA and the region's Congressional delegation has helped to secure the capital funds necessary to continue to invest in CTA's infrastructure, such as the purchase of these new buses," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Carole Brown. ?Our customers are experiencing the benefits of new equipment and upgraded facilities as they travel throughout CTA's system."

With the addition of more than 464 new buses since 2000 ? and the introduction of particulate filters and ultra low sulfur diesel fuel, among other initiatives ? CTA has reduced its bus fleets total annual emissions by 22 percent, or 564 tons, since 1997. By converting to ultra low sulfur diesel fuel in 2003, the CTA is well ahead of schedule in implementing the 2007 Federal Emission requirements for reduced particulate matter and carbon monoxide.

The new buses will further enhance the overall transit experience for many CTA bus customers. The new buses will be equipped with the same standard amenities provided existing buses in the fleet such as air conditioning, security cameras, bike racks, an automated announcement system and wheelchair ramps. But the new buses will have some new customer amenities such as strap hangers for standing customers, a rear door easy-touch feature for ease in exiting, and a new seat design that is expected to provide increased comfort.

By including 20 hybrid buses as part of the purchase, CTA will be able to evaluate the performance of the environmentally friendly vehicles in Chicago's extreme weather conditions. Performance results will help determine if hybrid buses are suitable as future additions to CTA's fleet.

CTA currently has four hybrid-electric Ford Escapes in its fleet of non-revenue vehicles that are used by field personnel to monitor bus route performance, transport materials and travel to maintenance facilities. CTA also has 24 vans in its non-revenue fleet that are powered by compressed natural gas. As advances continue in hybrid and clean diesel technology, along with other environmentally friendly initiatives, the CTA will continue to monitor their cost efficiency, performance and environmental benefits.

The competitively bid contract approved by the Chicago Transit Board last November is funded with federal formula funds from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Illinois FIRST bonds from the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA).

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