CTA President Forrest Claypool and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel this morning announced plans to overhaul the majority of CTA’s bus fleet over the next two years, with the purchase of 425 new buses and the rebuilding of 1,030 existing buses.
The new buses, estimated to cost $330 million, will be in addition to an order of 100 buses the CTA placed last month. The new order will entail the purchase of 325 40-foot clean diesel buses and 100 60-foot articulated buses, which will be a mix of hybrid and clean diesel engines.
In addition to the new bus purchases, the CTA announced a $165 million plan to overhaul its fleet of 1,030 New Flyer D40LF buses. According to the CTA, the buses will be completely rebuilt, with only the steel frames remaining the same.
Delivery of the new buses will be completed over the next two years. The new buses will allow the CTA to retire its aging 6400-series Nova LFS buses, while also increasing the percentage of higher capacity 60-foot articulated buses. In a Chicago Tribune report, CTA spokeswoman Molly Sullivan also disclosed plans to phase out CTA’s fleet of 45 30-foot Optima Opus buses. Those buses are currently used on CTA’s University of Chicago bus routes, along with other low ridership routes.
The new buses announced today could also see BRT-related features. In its Request for Proposal, the CTA has requested the option to include features such as transit signal priority (TSP), a third door on articulated buses, enhanced interior/exterior electronic passenger information systems, and advanced styling features such as roof caps that are often typical on BRT buses. Later this year, the CTA plans to begin BRT service along the Jeffrey Corridor. Plans are also being finalized for a Central Loop BRT corridor, which could begin construction as early as 2014.