CTA Shows Off New Prototype Buses

Cost of the 300-bus base order from Nova Bus is $148 million

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday went to a Chicago Transit Authority garage to join CTA president Forrest Claypool in showing off the next incarnation of buses.

The transit agency is currently inspecting and testing the first pilot bus that's part of an order of 300 new 40-foot buses that will begin hitting Chicago streets later this spring.

The lower-emission vehicles are made by Nova Bus, a subsidiary of Volvo, and are equipped with LED lighting, 10 security cameras per bus and a new safety barrier to protect bus drivers from unruly passengers, CTA officials said.

The cost of the 300-bus base order is $148 million, CTA spokesman Brian Steele said. Under the contract, the CTA has the option to purchase an additional 150 buses.

"By upgrading a fleet of buses and rail cars , we are continuing to invest in providing customers with a smooth, reliable and comfortable commute and ensuring our City has world-class transit system for the 21st century," Emanuel said in a written press release. "This milestone shows the significant progress the CTA is making to provide quality service to customers and increase economic opportunity in Chicago by creating good-paying, local jobs that support families."

The seats on the bus will be made by Freedman Seating, a 120-year-old company based in Humboldt Park. The seats are lighter than existing seats, which should cut down on fuel costs, and the local partnership means about 100 new jobs in the Chicago area.

Claypool said the CTA should begin receiving the new buses in April and putting them in service about a month later. They replace buses purchased between 2000 and 2002.

Most of the buses in the CTA's 1,800-vehicle fleet are made by New Flyer Industries Inc. Those include articulated Hybrid buses purchased with stimulus funds in 2009.

The interior of the new buses.
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