CHICAGO (CBS) — CTA officials and Mayor Rahm Emanuel offered a preview on Wednesday of 300 new 40-foot buses that will be joining the fleet later this year.

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports the mayor said the city will step up pothole filling efforts to make sure the buses have smooth streets on which to drive.

CTA President Forrest Claypool said the agency has ordered 300 of the new buses manufactured by Nova, and they will start hitting the streets in a few months.

“These buses feature more security cameras, brighter lighting, bigger windows for interior light, and durable seats manufactured by locally-based Freedman Seating,” Claypool said.

The seats are made of lightweight and durable material designed to withstand heavy use all year long, and help cut fuel costs by reducing the overall weight of the bus.

Claypool and Emanuel showed off prototypes of the new buses at a CTA bus garage on Wednesday. The CTA expects to take delivery of the first new buses in April, and have them on the road by May. All 300 new buses should be delivered by the end of the year. They will replace Nova buses the CTA purchased between 2000 and 2002, and which are now at the end of their useful life.

The mayor said if the city’s efforts to fill potholes don’t stay at a high level, the new buses will find their shock absorbers sorely tested.

“I’ve added an additional crew, so we can do about 8,500 a day,” Emanuel said. “And I’ve ordered the staff, about two weeks ago, to work up a robust new paving plan; so you’re building new roads not just fixing old ones.”

The mayor said he asks for progress reports on the pothole problem five or six times a day.

Claypool said he wants the CTA to have an almost entirely new fleet of buses within a few years.

“Our plan includes purchasing as many as 550 new buses, and completely gut-rehabbing more than 1,000 existing buses,” he said.

The 300 buses from Nova cost about $500,000 each.

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