The Chicago Transit Authority is moving ahead with its second stimulus fund project with the purchase of 58 articulated hybrid buses.
The $49 million contract with New Flyer Industries ensures work for its Crookston and St. Cloud, Minn.-based employees, and will potentially save the CTA more than $2.6 annually.
CTA President Richard Rodriguez on Friday said buses from the Winnipeg, Manitoba-based company will begin arriving this fall.
"The CTA is moving quickly on stimulus fund projects. The projects we are pursuing are vital to improving service," Rodriguez said. "New buses improve the reliability of service for customers and enhance the overall experience of riding CTA, just as the slow zone elimination work in the Dearborn subway will do for Blue Line riders."
In February, CTA sidelined 226 articulated buses manufactured by Alabama-based North American Bus Industries after a structural crack was found in one bus. A CTA spokeswoman said those buses remain out of service, pending the completion of an independent safety review. She said the buses being purchased with stimulus funds are necessary even if the idled buses are put back in service.
The purchase is in addition to existing orders for both articulated 60’ hybrid buses and 40’ buses from New Flyer. The 40' New Flyer buses are in the final phase of delivery of an order placed in 2006 for 265 buses. The 60’ articulated hybrids are from a 2008 order for 150 buses. Currently 135 of the 150 New Flyer articulated hybrid buses have been delivered and placed in service.
CTA was able to move quickly on the new bus order because last fall the Chicago Transit Board approved the reassignment of terms of Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) contract option for the purchase of 58 New Flyer articulated hybrid buses pending the availability of funds, the agency said.
Through this purchase, CTA estimates that the hybrid technology can save the agency more than $300,000 annually in fuel costs and nearly $2.3 million annually in maintenance, parts and labor costs over buses currently in service. The 60-foot hybrid’s average fuel consumption is 3.7 miles per gallon, a 39 percent increase in fuel efficiency versus non-hybrid 60-foot buses (2.65 mpg). Hybrid buses are quieter, cleaner and run more smoothly than conventional engine systems.
CTA’s first project using stimulus funds is track replacement to prevent slow zones on the Blue Line’s Dearborn subway. Work on this project is expected to begin in mid-April.
CTA is scheduled to receive $241 million in stimulus funds. The $49 million purchase of new hybrid articulated buses and $87 million track replacement project in the Dearborn subway represent an obligation of 56 percent of CTA’s stimulus funds.