CTA to add 20 to 30 all-electric buses

Elena Sucharetza , Assistant City Editor

Chicago Transit Authority plans to purchase 20 to 30 additional all-electric buses in the next few years after one year of operating two such vehicles, officials said.

The all-electric bus is a 40-foot long model manufactured by New Flyer Industries Inc. that touts lower fuel costs and emissions than the standard CTA bus, CTA officials said in a press release. The officials estimate that each all-electric bus will generate an average of $25,000 in fuel savings and $55,000 in health benefit savings over a one year period.

The total cost for the new all-electric buses, including manufacturing costs and en-route charging systems, is estimated to be between $30 and $40 million and will be federally funded through several sources still to be finalized, CTA officials said.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CTA president Dorval Carter, Jr. said in the press release the all-electric model has delivered promising results with no major operating issues.

“Expanding the CTA’s electric bus fleet provides customers with dependable service while continuing my commitment to making Chicago the greenest city in the world and protecting the environment for future generations,” Emanuel said.

The first two all-electric buses were introduced by CTA in October 2014 in an effort to modernize Chicago’s public transit and create a greener model for the city’s residents, making CTA the first transit agency in the U.S. to use all-electric buses as part of daily service, officials said.

About 15 percent of CTA’s current bus fleet is comprised of hybrid diesel-electric models. The new all-electric buses will provide both environmental and economic benefits to the city, CTA officials said. All-electric buses boast a reduction in harmful emissions equal to removing 14 passenger cars from the road, officials said.

Officials added previous improvements to the Chicago transit system have included vehicle replacements, “mid-life” tuneups on buses and the addition of diesel particulate filters to buses.

“This is an exciting time, as once again the CTA has a leading role in shaping the next generation of the public transportation industry,” Carter said in the release.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @elenasucharetza