CTA to buy 600 new ‘clean-diesel’ buses to replace aging fleet

In the next two years, nearly 70% of CTA buses will be beyond their useful life.

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A man was stabbed to death July 2, 2021 in Chatham.

CTA purchased 100 new buses Feb. 10, 2021.

Sun-Times file photo

The Chicago Transit Authority plans to buy up to 600 new buses to replace an aging fleet with some buses that are nearly two decades old.

The CTA’s board Wednesday approved the purchase of 100 “clean-diesel” buses from Nova Bus, and the option to purchase 500 more later on, the transit agency said in a statement.

The new buses will replace the Nova-6400-series, bought in 2000 and 2002, that have been driven over 500,000 miles.

Although the CTA plans to use only electric vehicles by 2040, this purchase was necessary to keep the fleet reliable and reduce maintenance costs, CTA President Dorval Carter said in a statement.

In the next two years, nearly 70% of CTA buses will be beyond their useful life, he said.

The new 40-foot buses will have:

  • Overhead service information screens to display real-time route information and other updates
  • Pedestrian Detection System, which provides both the operator and pedestrian alerts visual and audible alarms when objects are in danger zones
  • At least 10 high definition cameras each
  • Improved vinyl seat covers manufactured by Chicago-based Freedman Seating Company 
  • Wheelchair ramps will have a larger surface area and reduced slope

Nova Bus, a division of Prevost Car, Inc., was awarded a $334 million competitive-bid contract with the CTA. Under its terms, the transit agency will buy 100 buses for no more than $49.5 million.

The CTA expects to see prototypes of the new buses in the fall, before production begins in 2022.

“Today’s purchase will help ensure CTA can continue to provide safe, reliable service as we prepare to transition to an all-electric bus fleet over the next 20 years,” Carter said.

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