CTA launches all-electric bus service in Chicago’s South Side

Posted: 19 May 2023 | | No comments yet

In line with its electrification goals, CTA’s new all-electric buses will serve Chicago’s Far South Side on the #63 route, promoting equity and reducing air pollution in the communities that it serves.

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Credit: Chicago Transit Authority

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has announced the introduction of its latest fully accessible, all-electric buses on the #63 route. This launch represents a significant milestone in CTA’s ongoing efforts to transition to a fully electrified bus fleet by 2040.

“Improving bus services and connections for our most transit dependent riders has been and remains a priority for me, and our expansion of all-electric buses to serve Chicago’s Far South Side is part of this commitment,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “Ensuring equity, the environment and the communities we serve are at the heart of our ‘Charging Forward Plan’ and we look forward to expanding the benefits of all-electric buses, especially to those communities that are disproportionately affected by air pollution.”

The #63 route, serving passengers from Woodlawn to Chrysler Village, now becomes the second bus route featuring all-electric buses. It also marks the first electric bus route departing from CTA’s 74th Street Garage, located in Chicago’s South Side. By equipping garages in neighbourhoods with high air pollution levels, CTA aims to best serve communities facing greater health vulnerability risks.

In preparation for the #63 route launch, all bus operators at the 74th Street Garage received training on the new electric buses’ specific features and systems. This route, spanning from 63rd/Stony Island to Midway, is one of CTA’s busiest, providing over 2.4 million rides in 2022.

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Currently, CTA possesses 25 electric buses in its fleet, with three of its seven bus garages equipped with charging facilities. The organisation plans to procure additional vehicles and expand to more routes and garages in the years ahead. To support these efforts, CTA has secured £29 million in grant funds from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for the purchase of fully accessible, all-electric buses, along with improvements in bus facility communication and safety measures.

CTA’s ‘Charging Forward: CTA Bus Electrification Planning Report‘, released in February 2022, serves as a blueprint for the agency’s journey towards a completely electric bus fleet and the necessary operational infrastructure within the next 18 years. 

Furthermore, CTA’s Proterra 600-Series buses have already commenced operations on the #66 Chicago route, marking the initial stage of a broader plan to electrify all bus services along Chicago Avenue. To accommodate the electric buses, CTA has installed en-route chargers at Navy Pier and intends to add more chargers as additional electric buses are introduced on other routes.