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At its monthly board meeting on May 9, 2012, the Chicago Transit Board approved the purchase of up to 100 new 60-foot articulated buses from New Flyer of America, Inc. The $80 million deal was a reassignment of options from a contract with New Flyer originally executed by Seattle’s King County Metro.
The order will contain a mix of 67 “clean-diesel” and 33 hybrid diesel-electric articulated buses. The new buses will allow CTA to begin replacement of its 40-foot Nova bus fleet, which have begun to reach end of life.
The buses will be a mix of D60LFRs and DE60LFRs, New Flyer’s “restyled” bus model. While fairly similar to CTA’s existing fleet of DE60LFs, the LFR models feature a more curved front end design. In addition, CTA’s DE60LFR models feature roof fins to better conceal the roof-mounted equipment and provide a more streamlined appearance.
Delivery commenced in November 2012 and will be completed in 2013. The buses began operating in revenue service on December 17, 2012.
On June 27, 2013, bus 4323, operating while not in service after finishing a trip on route 6 Jackson Park Express, collided with a dump truck causing a four-vehicle crash. Serious to critical injuries were sustained by two CTA employees, including the driver, the truck driver, and another driver in the third vehicle. The crash happened near 103rd Street Garage on 103rd and Stony Island. The aftermath of the crash caused bus 4323 to be permanently retired due to the severance of the front of the bus.
On November 18, 2014, a CTA bus driver that was operating route 147 Outer Driver quickly realized that smoke was coming from the back of the bus 4333. He quickly evacuated all passengers from the bus before it engulfed in flames in the back. The devastating fire permanently destroyed the entire back of the bus causing the back tires and the engine to be destroyed. Lake Shore Drive was delayed for approximately 9-10 hours before returning back the normal the next day. The Red and Purple Line trains were also affected that day due to heavy passenger boarding because of the shutdown of Lake Shore Drive. The cause of the fire is yet to be known while it’s still being investigated. Bus 4333 was towed to South Shop maintenance facility and will remain there until the investigation is concluded. It is also retired.