CTA Locks In Pricing for the Manufacture of 400 Additional New Flyer Buses

May 17, 2007
05/17/2007

The Chicago Transit Board today approved exercising the final two options for the future purchase of 400 additional low-emission buses through an existing contract with New Flyer of America, Inc. Exercising these options now allows the CTA to lock in the cost of manufacturing the buses and secure the production schedule. The options are valued at $153 million. The initial contract was executed in November 2005.

?The cost of manufacturing new buses increases monthly by nearly $600,000. Exercising the final two options in the contract allows us to lock in a lower price and will help save on the capital expense of purchasing new buses in the future," said CTA President Ron Huberman. ?Continued investment in CTA's fleet and facilities is critical to maintaining the current level of service and being able to improve service in the future. Replacing aging buses in the fleet not only improves the transit experience for customers but also helps to improve operations by reducing maintenance costs and increasing reliability."

Today's action represents the final purchase option under the existing contract which allows for the total manufacture and delivery of 1,050 buses. The New Flyer buses are replacing the 5300 Series Flxible buses and the 4400 and 4900 Series TMC buses, all purchased in 1991. Currently, nearly 450 New Flyer buses have been delivered and are in service along CTA bus routes systemwide.

The New Flyer buses produce approximately 60 percent fewer emissions than the buses they replace because of low-emission engines. The 400 buses included in this order will have particulate filters and upgraded engines designed to meet 2007 emission standards. Additional features include low-floors, which make it easier for customers to board and exit from the curb, and ramps that make the buses accessible for customers with disabilities. The buses also feature strap hangers for standing customers, a rear door easy-touch feature for ease in exiting, a more comfortable seat design, surveillance cameras, bike racks, an automated announcement system and automatic passenger counters.

When exercised, the CTA will have purchased more than 1,800 new buses since 2000. Since 1999, the CTA bus fleet has grown 18 percent, from 1,877 buses to its current total of 2,212. Despite the increase in its vehicle count, total bus emissions have decreased more than 28 percent.

CTA has aggressively pursued cutting-edge technologies to help reduce the impact of its fleet on the environment such as low-emission engines in new buses, switching its bus fleet to ultra low-sulfur diesel fuel in 2003 and incorporating clean diesel technologies into the fleet whenever possible. Clean diesel technologies involve outfitting some of the older buses in the fleet with a combination of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) engines and post-combustion after-treatment technology such as particulate filters. Continuing its efforts to leverage new technologies, CTA is currently testing the performance of hybrid buses to determine if they would be suitable as future additions to CTA's fleet.

In February 2006, CTA approved a $94.9 million base order for 265 New Flyer buses, including 20 diesel electric hybrids. In May 2006, CTA approved a$63.4 million contract for 185 additional New Flyer buses under Option 1 of the existing contract. In November 2006, Option 2 of the contract was exercised allowing for the purchase of 200 buses for $74.4 million.

The existing contract with New Flyer of America, Inc. was competitively bid. The Option 3 and 4 orders are funded by the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) bonds and CTA bonds.

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