CHICAGO — CTA buses are getting an overhaul.
On Wednesday, the transit authority unveiled the first of its 300 new clean-diesel buses. Each 40-foot bus features LED lighting, bigger windows, 10 security cameras and seamless flooring.
The first bus — which is currently being inspected and tested — should hit the streets by May, said CTA President Forrest Claypool. More buses will roll out by the end of 2015.
Claypool said buses account for 60 percent of CTA ridership, and log nearly 60 million miles per year.
"That's a lot of wear and tear," he said.
"Simply put: We need to invest in our fleet," Claypool said Wednesday as he spoke from the 74th Street CTA station, 1815 W. 74th St. "It's good for our customers, and it just makes good business sense."
The new buses, which were designed by Nova Bus, will replace those bought between 2000 and 2002. The CTA anticipates lower fuel and maintenance costs, and could add as many as 550 of the buses to its existing fleet.
Buses bought after 2002 will receive a "midlife overhaul," the mayor's office said, which includes rebuilding engines, upgrading lighting and repainting exteriors.
The new buses' seats were designed by Freedman Seating, a 120-year-old company based in West Humboldt Park at 4545 W. Augusta Blvd. The mayor's office said Freedman created 50 new jobs to make the seats.
"This milestone shows the significant progress the CTA is making to provide quality service to customers and increase economic opportunity in Chicago by creating good-paying, local jobs," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.