Mayor Emanuel, CTA Continue Major Bus Fleet Modernization Program by Announcing Plans to Overhaul More than 200 Hybrid Articulated Buses

May 10, 2017

Upon completion of work, 94 percent of CTA’s bus fleet will be new or like new: Bus overhaul program will create 100 new local jobs

As part of Mayor Emanuel’s ongoing commitment to modernize the nation’s second largest public transit agency, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) today announced a $54 million plan to overhaul 208 hybrid articulated buses – the longest buses in its fleet serving many of the busiest bus routes in the city. The overhaul program will provide CTA customers with cleaner, greener and more reliable buses while also creating 100 new jobs.

Since 2011, the CTA has acquired an almost entirely new bus fleet, providing customers with safe, reliable and more comfortable transportation. This includes purchasing more than 500 new buses and overhauling more than 1,000 buses to make them like new and extend their lifespans.

With the overhaul or “gut rehab” of another 208 buses, 94 percent of the CTA’s bus fleet will be new or like new. These 208 buses currently serve some of the busiest bus routes in the city, including: #J14 Jeffery Jump, #22 Clark, #26 South Shore Express, #36 Broadway, #X49 Western Express and nearly all express routes that travel along Lake Shore Drive.

 “A world-class city needs the world-class infrastructure that helps millions of Chicagoans commute on a modern, reliable transit system, and I’m pleased that we have continued to make progress on our commitment to invest in transit and grow economic opportunity in our city,” said Mayor Emanuel. “When I took office six years ago, CTA was operating a rapidly aging fleet and we’ve turned that around with new trains and buses that are creating a transit system ready to meet the needs of the 21st Century.”

“Over the last six years, these buses have served as the workhorses of CTA’s bus fleet – often assigned to the most heavily traveled routes in our system,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter. “With an average of nearly 260,000 miles, this overhaul project will extend the life of these buses by an additional six years and provide riders with safer, more reliable like new buses that will consume less fuel than when they were originally manufactured.”

By performing these overhauls now, CTA is expected to see a 20% reduction in hours needed for repairs – ultimately saving millions of dollars in deferred maintenance costs. A complete bus overhaul will take approximately one month to complete and will include:

  • Rebuilt engines and suspension systems
  • New hybrid batteries with increased capacity
  • Rehabilitated heating and air conditioning systems
  • New cooling systems with electric fans for improved fuel efficiency
  • New seat inserts
  • External body repairs and painting as needed

Project work is expected to begin later this year and continue through 2019. Similar to the overhaul of CTA’s 40-foot buses in 2013-2015, upgrades will be made at three Illinois-based facilities. Funding for the project is a mix of Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funds and RTA and CTA sales-tax dollars.

CTA’s bus and rail fleet modernization efforts under Mayor Emanuel since 2011 have included:

  • Purchase of more than 520 new, clean-diesel and diesel-electric hybrid buses;
  • Addition of two all-electric buses, with plans to purchase up to 20 more;
  • Overhaul of more than 1,220 buses, including those announced today;
  • Receipt of more than 700 new 5000-series rail cars to service and overhauling existing rail cars; and
  • Purchase of next generation of CTA rail cars, the 7000-series

Buses provide more than half of all rides taken on the CTA each year (52% in 2016) and serve all of Chicago and 35 surrounding suburbs.

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