Canceling Chicago Transit Authority plans to invest in more new diesel buses, as some suggest, is the worst possible idea. Doing so would all but ensure riders have less reliable or even reduced service as the fleet ages. It could also lead to higher fares for riders as the city strives to maintain buses.
The CTA’s aspirations for an all-electric fleet by 2040 are laudable, but must be tempered by fiscal and practical reality. First and foremost, the mission of public transportation is to provide affordable, available and reliable public transportation.
The technology best suited to do that today is diesel. Illinois leads the country with a newer diesel-powered transit fleet. According to the latest data, Illinois ranks 7thnationwide for the number of new advanced technology diesel transit buses in service, with more than 57% from 2011 and later. These buses achieve near zero emissions. They’re also more fuel efficient than older models, which saves the city money.