CTA to buy, rebuild 1,500 buses in $575 million investment

Lately I’ve been focusing on CTA rail news – and there’s been plenty of it:

  • The announcement of the shutdown of the south branch of the Red Line next spring to repair Dan Ryan slow zones.
  • The start of the North Red Interim Station Improvements project.
  • A new bridge being rolled into place this weekend at the Greenleaf viaduct on the Purple Line in Evanston.

But the CTA also is investing heavily in buying and rehabbing buses.

First, the CTA announced in May that it is buying up to 100 new articulated (60-foot) buses from New Flyer Industries. From the press release:

CTA is piggybacking on a contract belonging to King County Metro, Seattle’s public transit agency, to purchase the 100 low-floor, fully-accessible articulated buses. Due to changing business needs, the Seattle transit agency does not plan to purchase the full quantity of buses allowed on their contract and has agreed to assign a portion of the contract to the CTA.

Delivery of the 100 articulated buses – a combination of 33 hybrid diesel-electric and 67 clean-diesel buses – is expected to begin late this year and continue through 2013.  The new articulated buses will begin replacing the 40-foot Nova buses that were entered into service in 2000-2001. The new buses will be assigned to routes where they are projected to maximize performance and meet the growing ridership demand.

The latest purchase of 100 articulated buses will cost $80 million and is being funded with a combination of federal funds and local resources.

And then in early June, the CTA said it will buy 425 new buses, and completely rehab another 1,000 of its 40-foot buses.

Th CTA will issue a request for proposal to buy 325 standard, 40-foot clean diesel buses and 100 60-foot articulated buses. The estimated cost is $330 million, with funding coming entirely from the CTA via bonds issued against its sales-tax dollars.

“Later this year, CTA will begin a $165 million project to completely rebuild 1,030 standard 40-foot buses,” according to the press release.. “Buses will essentially be brand-new after receiving rebuilt engines, transmissions, suspensions, heating and air-conditioning systems, exterior repair and repainting as necessary, LED lights and other internal amenities. In addition, the 430 buses not originally equipped with particulate filters will receive them as part of the overhaul, which will help reduce harmful engine emissions.”


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  • I know it's separate things, bu where is this $575 Million coming from - when the Teachers feel that they are compelled to Strike?

  • "Th CTA will issue "

    As I noted on chicagobus.org, the RFP was up as of June 2, 2012, and also that it is "actually is for 300-450 diesel 40 footers and 50-150 either hybrid or diesel 60 footers."

    So, copying a news release is not journalism. Also missing an e, too.

    And, Mike, if you go back to the post on "CTA street closings around Morse Red Line surprise Rogers Park - and alderman" to comments 5 and 6, this is supposedly sales tax money, although Kevin tried to make a distinction between sales tax bonds and money that didn't exist.

  • In reply to jack:

    You need to chill out Jack. No one ever called this journalism. I'm simply recapping the news and duly noting what I am taking out of a press release. So full transparency there.

  • In reply to Kevin O’Neil:

    You once claimed otherwise. But, unlike to fill in Mike, I don't think it is worth my time to Google it. You probably can, though.

  • In reply to jack:

    I'm talking about this report. I clearly state that I'm copying some of the press release.

    Now, the following posts certainly are journalism, because no one else had this story:



  • I have two primary questions when it comes to new or updated buses: 1) What percentage of the seats will be forward-facing ones in which the feet of an average-height female can touch the floor? 2) Will it be possible for a female of average height to move from the front of the bus to the back or vice versa without long gaps in easily reachable grab bars that would put her at risk of being thrown about as the bus accelerates and brakes?

    I haven't seen any evidence lately that the CTA considers passenger ergonomics to be of any importance, either on trains or buses. If they want to address this, I'm all ears.

  • In reply to CCWriter:

    It appears that the out of touch CTA staff has decided that all seats will be sideways, no matter how uncomfortable they are, no matter how many seats will be lost due to the stanchions every two seats due to all the very wide people out there who take up at least 1.5 seats, no matter how hard it is for so many people, not just short women to use them & how dangerous the buses will be because there's nothing to grab onto. I was just on an artic & crossing the turntable at the bend is flat out dangerous when the bus is moving because there's nothing to really grab in that section. That bizarre curved stanchion in the middle of the diaphragm is useless! On the artics where all the seats are sideways, there are several areas where both seating & standing room is lost due to this arrangement.
    Just incompetent beyond belief & it reinforces my belief that the management idiots behind this drive to work & never ride a bus!
    The only way this will change is after the CTA loses a few big lawsuits to people that fell while standing.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    "The only way this will change is after the CTA loses a few big lawsuits to people that fell while standing."

    That's the theory behind the law and economics theory of torts. However, other than putting flaps in front of the rear wheels, there is no indication that it otherwise had an effect on the CTA. I don't think that the crossings on the Ravenswood changed after the Lee decision, in fact several on the Skokie Swift were subsequently designed that way (the social Darwinists can get on the r.o.w. at a crossing to fry oneself on the third rail).

    On the main point, someone suggested on chicagobus.org that the existing buses may be reconfigured that way on overhaul, and the specifications for that are also out if someone cares to look at them. I'm not interested enough.

    For that matter, one can only guess about the specifications for Bombardier's previously secret deal to rehab the 3200s.

  • In reply to CCWriter:

    I like aspects of the new buses, but you bring up some good points. The one thing they changed from the original buses was they changed from metal seats which were horribly uncomfortably to plastic which seem better to me.

    Also, the middle seats that face the aisle are seated so high as to be uncomfortable. I can't sit in them without losing all feeling in my legs because they don't touch the ground, and then each person walking by hits you because there is no room to actually sit there. I'm 5'11" and in shape, but these seats are a waste. They should put a rail to hold onto or something to that effect instead of seats. Or push the seats back and lower them toward the ground.

    Then again, the people in those seats are probably a goner if a bus were to ever get hit in the accordion by a car side-on.

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