The 40-foot lower-emission diesel buses, manufactured by Nova Bus, a subsidiary of Volvo, are outfitted with LED lighting, 10 security cameras per bus and a fortified safety barrier to protect bus drivers from unruly riders, the CTA said.
The cost of the 300-bus base order is $148 million, CTA spokesman Brian Steele said.
The Nova buses are expected to enter service by May 2014, CTA officials said, explaining that it will take time to test and inspect the pilot bus that has been delivered before the transit agency approves full production. Under the Nova contract, the CTA has the option to purchase up to 450 buses.
The new Novas will replace Nova buses that the CTA purchased between 2000 and 2002. The majority of the CTA's approximately 1,800-bus fleet are manufactured by New Flyer Industries Inc.
The CTA announced in mid-2012 that it will operate an "essentially new'' bus fleet by the end of 2014 under a plan to buy 425 new buses and rebuild more than 1,000 older buses, at a projected cost of almost a half billion dollars.
The seats on the new buses will be made by Freedman Seating in Humboldt Park.