CTA plans to nearly double all-electric bus fleet

June 20, 2023
The agency has purchased 22 new, all-electric buses as part of efforts to advance its “Charging Forward” Plan, which serves as a blueprint for converting an all-electric fleet by 2040.

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has purchased 22 new, all-electric buses, with plans to nearly double the size of its all-electric bus fleet. The plan is the latest effort to advance the agency’s “Charging Forward” Plan, which serves as a blueprint for converting an all-electric fleet by 2040.

"Expanding our electric bus fleet will allow us to extend the benefits of all-electric buses to even more vulnerable communities on the South and West sides of Chicago, which are adversely impacted by higher rates of harmful pollutants,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “We look forward to rolling out these new vehicles in the near future, which will not only help reduce harmful emissions in communities, but also provide our riders with a more reliable and quieter transit experience.”

 On June 16, the Chicago Transit Board authorized the exercising of a contract option for the purchase of additional standard, 40-foot electric buses, valued at $26.2 million. The original contract, which was awarded to Proterra in 2018 following a competitive procurement process, had a base order of 23 standard, electric buses, as well as an option to purchase up to 25 additional electric buses.

CTA will be using a mix of funds from a federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant and funds from the Regional Transportation Authority of Northeastern Illinois to nearly double the size of its electric bus fleet to 47 vehicles. Buses from this option order would begin arriving in early 2025. In addition to lower emissions that improve air quality for everyone, the new electric buses will offer significant savings in fuel and maintenance costs for the agency.

For customers, the buses will provide a smoother, quieter ride – producing noise levels equivalent to a human conversation – as well as new overhead passenger information screens to show real-time travel information and other service information.

The CTA unveiled “Charging Forward: CTA Bus Electrification Planning Report” in February 2022, which serves as a blueprint for converting its entire bus fleet and bus operational infrastructure to all-electric over the next 18 years. Converting a bus fleet of more than 1,800 vehicles is a complex undertaking and will require new buses, as well as charging station infrastructure and significant electrical power upgrades.

Since unveiling the “Charging Forward Plan” last year, CTA has received $29 million in grant funds from the Federal Transit Administration to be used towards the purchase of fully accessible, all-electric buses, as well as bus facility communication and safety improvements to accommodate the new vehicles.