The city's buses will get a roughly $500 million makeover. Charlie Wojciechowski reports.
New buses are on the way for the Chicago Transit Authority.
"For us to continue to safely and reliably serve current riders and meet the growing demand we need vehicles that are clean, comfortable, modern and in good working order," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said on Friday at a press conference with CTA President Forest Claypool.
The CTA plans to have an entirely new bus fleet in two years by purchasing 425 new buses and completely rebuilding 1,030 old ones. It was touted as the most ambitious bus replacement and corporate rebuilding project in CTA history..
The 425 new buses will consist of 325 40-foot buses and 100 60-foot accordion-style buses. They'll be a mix of hybrid and clean diesel vehicles.
Older buses will receive new rebuilt engines, transmissions, LED lighting systems, suspensions, heating and cooling systems, and other amenities so that only the steel frame remains the same. It is said to reduce harmful emissions.
The project overall is expected to relieve congested routes during rush hour.
"I think it’s a great idea. It would ease up a lot of traffic," said one rider who was interviewed by NBC Chicago while waiting at a bus stop Friday morning. "A lot of people take the bus."
"The North Avenue bus could definitely use a bigger bus," said another commuter who takes the Route 72 bus back-and-forth to work. "It's always crowded when I get on at 5 p.m."
The rebuilding efforts will help create more than 200 jobs.
Nearly 60 percent of all CTA users ride the bus.