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Chicago Transit Authority expands electric bus fleet

A Proterra electric bus

CTA says the 20 new buses will improve air quality, save on fuel and maintenance

The Chicago Transit Board (CTA) has awarded a US$32 million contract for the purchase of 20 new, all-electric buses – the latest investment by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the CTA to completely modernise the agency’s bus fleet and make Chicago one of the greenest cities in the world.

The new electric buses will give the CTA one of the largest electric bus fleets in the country.

“The purchase of these 20 new electric buses represents a new path for Chicago’s public transit, one that is greener, healthier and more efficient for all who live and visit our great city,” said Emanuel. “This is just the latest example of the types of investments we will continue to make in the years to come, further solidifying Chicago as a world-class city that is at the forefront of modern and green technologies.”

CTA has been testing two electric buses since 2014, when the agency became the first in the country to use all-electric-powered buses for regular scheduled service. Both electric buses have performed well and adeptly handled Chicago’s weather and temperatures.

“CTA is at the forefront of pursuing new technologies, including electric buses, which have performed very well – exceeding expectations and providing reliable, comfortable transportation to our customers,” said CTA president Dorval Carter. “We are pleased to expand the number of electric buses in our fleet and demonstrate that all-electric vehicles are a viable method to build a more environmentally friendly fleet.”

In addition to lower emissions that benefit air quality, electric buses offer savings in fuel costs and maintenance costs.

The two electric buses currently in operation have saved CTA more than US$24,000 annually in fuel costs, and US$30,000 annually in maintenance costs, when compared to diesel buses purchased in 2014.

They also provide a quieter ride, producing noise the equivalent to a human conversation. Additionally, the buses will include new passenger information screens to show real-time travel information and other service information.

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