Buses Idling in Chicago Despite Law

A law that prohibits idling was established in 2006, yet few citations have been issued in the last few months

By Sandra Torres
|  Tuesday, Nov 23, 2010  |  Updated 8:30 AM CDT
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Scores of charter buses are idling in the city of Chicago for long periods of time despite a law that prohibits it, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The law, established in 2006 in Illinois, prohibits diesel-powered vehicles from idling for more than ten minutes in order to reduce air pollution. In Chicago, an ordinance limits the idling to only three minutes. Yet in the last three months, the Chicago Tribune observed dozens of charter buses and trucks idling around the city. Among one of the sightings, it witnessed charter buses idling outside Wrigley Field for about an hour during a Cubs vs St. Louis Cardinals game.

Since the anti-air pollution measure became law four years ago, city workers from the Department of Revenue have given 34 tickets for excessive idling, but Chicago police issued none, according to documents obtained by the Tribune under the Freedom of Information Act. Other agencies that are authorized to issue the citations include the Department of Environment, and the Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

City officials say they have been spreading the word about the law to fleet operators and city workers by hosting training sessions, and posting signs in areas were buses congregate. But the Chicago Tribune argues there is a lack of enforcement, considering the majority of the tickets issued in the last few months, took place after the paper asked for copies of citations given for excessive idling by city officials.

In Illinois, fines of $90 are given for the first violation, and $500 for having previous violations. In Chicago, a modified version of the law means tickets cost $250 per violation.

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