Freedman Seating won an $8.25 million contract from to build sating for at least 300 new Nova buses, the CTA announced last week. The news means the Humboldt Park-based company will hire about 100 new workers. About one-third of those jobs will require highly skilled trade positions including machinists, computer numerical control (CNC) operators, welders and engineers, according to the CTA news release.
Last month the CTA OK'ed a $148 million contract for Nova Bus to buy at least 300 new 40-foot diesel buses that will replace older model buses that are nearing the end of their useful life. As part of that contract, CTA’s specifications sought lightweight seating options to reduce vehicle weight and fuel costs, and that were also durable enough to withstand heavy-duty use in all seasons.
Nova identified two companies that could meet the seat specifications, and the CTA chose Freedman. From the CTA release:
Freedman Seating currently employs more than 500 employees in its Humboldt Park location. Production of the 11,100 seats needed for CTA’s 300 new buses (37 seats per bus) will begin once CTA issues a notice-to-proceed (NTP), which is expected in mid-May. Freedman will be responsible for the manufacturing of the seats and any repairs/replacements under warranty. CTA also has the option to order an additional 150 buses, which would mean an order of another 5,500 seats from Freedman for those buses.
. . .Under the bus modernization plan, CTA will have a clean, modern and more environmentally-friendly bus fleet with reduced increased capacity over the next few years. CTA has awarded two contracts valued at $185 million for the mid-life overhaul of roughly 60 percent of the existing fleet -- 1,029 buses purchased between 2006 and 2007. The remaining portion of the fleet will be replaced with a combination of new standard (40-foot) and articulated (60-foot) buses.So far, two contracts with a combined value of $228 million have been awarded for the purchase of at least 300 standard buses from Nova and 100 clean diesel and hybrid articulated buses from New Flyer. CTA is currently in the bidding process for the purchase of up to 150 additional articulated clean diesel and hybrid buses, which will be announced in early 2013.