CTA Receives First Articulated Hybrid Bus Purchased with Stimulus Funds

July 6, 2009

All 58 Buses Scheduled to Arrive by Fall 2009

The Chicago Transit Authority today announced the arrival of the first articulated hybrid bus purchased with federal stimulus funds. All 58 of the buses in the order are scheduled to arrive by fall.

"The arrival of these buses is another example of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act at work for CTA riders," said CTA President Richard L. Rodriguez. "Without these funds CTA would not have been able to purchase these much-needed buses. With our budget constraints and nearly $7 billion in unfunded capital projects, it is a challenge to upgrade the system while still being fiscally prudent."

With this new bus, the CTA now has 151 articulated hybrid buses in its fleet. Once all 208 articulated hybrid buses are in service, the CTA estimates that the hybrid technology will help to save the agency over $7 million annually in parts, labor and fuel.

"At this critical time for the agency's budget, it's important to explore technology and initiatives that can help us reduce operating costs," said Rodriguez. "These buses represent not only improved cost efficiency for the CTA, they also provide noticeable benefits to our customers."

Hybrid buses are quieter, cleaner and run more smoothly than conventional engine systems and offer an improved riding experience for customers.

Stimulus-Funded Hybrid BusCharacteristics of the bus include a plug-in feature that allows the batteries on the bus to remain charged when the bus is not in use. Power is drawn from the batteries to operate the auxiliary heater and circulate warm coolant through the engine block during overnight storage in cold weather. This eliminates the need to idle buses for startup.

The bus has a smaller engine than traditional articulated buses and is of the same design as the low-emission engines in CTA’s New Flyer 40-foot buses.

LED passenger lighting on the buses makes them even more environmentally friendly. The lights are long lasting and require less maintenance as there are no bulbs to change.

The articulated hybrid buses have 10 security cameras: seven interior, an interior front facing camera and two curb-side rear facing cameras that look down the side of the
bus – one above the front doors and the other near the rear doors.

The CTA is scheduled to receive $241 million in stimulus funds, $50 million of which are being used to fund this articulated hybrid bus purchase.

CTA’s first project using stimulus funds is currently under way and involves track replacement to remove existing slow zones and prevent future slow zones in the Blue Line’s Dearborn subway. The $88 million subway track replacement project is creating approximately 400 jobs locally over the course of the work.
CTA also is using $75.2 million of the agency's allotted stimulus funds for the rehabilitation of buses and rail cars. 

In addition, stimulus funds are being used to rehabilitate selected components on the CTA’s oldest buses, as well as the nearly 500 NOVA buses put into service in 2000-2001.  Major components include replacing engines and transmissions as well as brake drums and other brake parts.

CTA currently has 1,190 railcars, nearly 350 of which are between 32 and 40 years old.  An additional 600 cars are between 23 and 28 years old. Stimulus funds are being used to rehabilitate selected components on these rail cars including traction motors, brake systems, and truck assemblies.

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