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Electric CTA Buses Hit Chicago Streets — And More Coming In Years Ahead

The CTA has begun testing out electric buses on the No. 66 Chicago route. If testing goes well, the city agency will move forward with its plan of making the entire fleet electric by 2040.

One of the CTA's first electric buses.
Courtesy of the CTA
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CHICAGO — The Chicago Transit Authority is testing out electric CTA buses, part of a years-long effort to overhaul the city’s fleet.

The CTA rolled out six “prototype” electric buses along the No. 66 Chicago route, the agency announced Friday. The buses are picking up passengers.

If testing goes well, the CTA will roll out another 17 electric buses, officials said.

The CTA’s long-term goal is to replace all existing buses with electric buses by 2040. The city is looking to lower emissions and improve air quality but also save money on fuel and maintenance. Electric buses also provide a “smoother, quieter ride,” officials said.

Credit: CTA
An electric bus at one of the city’s newly-installed charging stations.

In a news release, CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. said the plan is “just one example of how the CTA is committed to adding more green vehicles, addressing climate change and being more environmentally conscious.”

The CTA is working with Proterra, a company that has manufactured electric buses for more than 60 transit agencies and other clients. Each electric bus costs about $900,000, officials said.

The CTA has also installed five “quick-charging” electric stations at Navy Pier, the Chicago/Austin bus turnarounds and at the Chicago Avenue garage. A single charge allows buses to run 75-120 miles, officials said.

The CTA started testing electric buses in 2014. The two buses performed well, prompting the city agency to buy more and continue down the path of replacing the city’s fleet.

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