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CTA adds two electric buses to fleet

The CTA is giving riders the silent treatment by rolling out two new electric buses with highly hushed engines Wednesday afternoon.

The transit agency brags the buses produce the noise equivalent to “a human conversation.” The muted hum sounds more like a microwave oven.

The buses are also supposed to have a smoother, less jerky ride. And riders sitting in the back won’t feel the heat emitted by the diesel engine that’s in most city buses.

Apart from that, and the new-bus smell (enjoy it while it lasts), they look and feel like a regular CTA bus.

Each cost $1 million and were paid for with a $2.5 million federally funded grant. Most buses in use at the CTA cost about $400,000.

Each bus will save $25,000 worth of fuel annually, or $300,000 over a bus’ 12-year life span. And each can travel 80 to 120 miles on a single charge from one of two charging stations that have been installed at CTA facilities.

Whether the CTA will seek to procure additional electric buses depends on a variety of factors, including how they perform in Chicago’s extreme hot and cold weather.

The buses, made by the Canadian company New Flyer Industries, are part of a continued CTA effort to go green.

About 300 of the CTA’s 1,800 plus buses are hybrid. Hundreds of other buses are being overhauled to increase fuel efficiency, the CTA said.

The buses — one painted green, the other blue — began operating Wednesday afternoon and are rotating among the following routes: No. 7 Harrison, No. 120 Ogilvie/Streeterville Express, No. 121 Union/Streeterville Express, No. 124 Navy Pier, No. 125 Watertown Express and No. 157 Streeterville/Taylor.