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Is there any reason the Classics were retired while the '92-'93 Orion I's are still active (According to the wiki)

How come Pace skips buses with the number 13? I know sometimes 13 can be unlucky.

I believe there was some discussion regarding the classic retirement on the ChicagoBus.org forums, you may want to dig around in the Pace Suburban Bus section.

I don't know a lot of details, but I think it has something to do with the number of 1's vs. the number of Classics, parts available, etc. I believe the Classics also had a completely suburban styled interior while I know the 1's had a more transit type layout. there is also the issue of the pace annual report roster not accurately representing what the fleet truly consists of at the published date. Today for example there could still be a Classic or two for standby service.

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  • 5 months later...
April 12, 2012

Industry News

Chicago’s Pace unveils 2 hybrid buses


As the Chicago area again deals with spiking fuel prices, Pace and the City of Highland Park debuted two new, hybrid buses that can reduce the suburban bus agency's fuel usage and pave the way to further use of green technology. The 30-foot buses began operating local routes in Highland Park earlier this month.

The buses are powered by a BAE Systems diesel-electric hybrid drive system which, similar to hybrid automobiles on the market, switches between an electric motor and a diesel engine to conserve fuel and reduce exhaust emissions. The emission control system is further enhanced by the use of a special filter that traps soot and other matter in the diesel exhaust to keep those particles from polluting the air.

The bus manufacturer, Orion, based in North Carolina, estimates a 25% fuel savings for the hybrids versus buses that run solely on diesel. Pace will monitor the actual fuel savings and plans to use the hybrid buses in conditions and operating environments that will maximize the fuel savings.

The buses seat up to 29 passengers and can accommodate up to two mobility devices. They were ordered in late 2010 at a cost of roughly $525,000 each and were delivered to Pace in late 2011. The vehicles feature a unique green paint scheme with white accents, making them easily identifiable to riders familiar with Pace's blue and white buses.

The City of Highland Park operates three Pace bus routes within the city and neighboring communities for Pace under an operating agreement that dates back roughly 35 years. In recent years, the city has been very supportive of Pace's efforts to bring green technology into the agency's fleet.

Copyright © 2012 Metro Magazine. All Rights Reserved.

Source: http://www.metro-magazine.com/News/Story/2012/04/Chicago-s-Pace-unveils-2-hybrid-buses.aspx?ref=Express-Thursday-20120412&utm_source=Email&utm_medium=Enewsletter

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  • 4 weeks later...

Some of the better photos from around the Pace system I was able to get last week:

7006578686_82be0a29f5_t.jpg 7152668931_3a0e585203_t.jpg 7006580934_c58fbfb32a_t.jpg 6997326958_732ebd6d98_t.jpg 6997299712_cb4ffd4b38_t.jpg

I was hoping to catch an Orion VII on the 471, however it was an Eldo instead. Still a pretty nice ride for a 30' bus, much better than D30LF and NABI 35-LFW I've been on. Way better than the badly maintained 29' Gilligs run on the BE Line here. (Although to be fair any bus operated in those conditions would run horribly)

Also I saw one Orion I traveling down Dempster, on deadhead to the garage, while at the Skokie Yellow Line Station.

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Most remaining 2300's (01.508's) are at North Shore Division (Oakton/McCormick in Skokie). They are mostly used as school trippers, of which North Shore has quite a few. Rest are in Highland Park for Ravinia service only. Very rare to see one in regular service any more.

Classics were real problem children as they had coach interiors and were bought specifically for routes 960/961, which were very short-lived midday replacement buses for the then-new Metra North Central service to Antioch. When the midday buses did not work out (low riding) they ended up at Northwest and North Shore divisions mostly, used on rush trippers. Drivers did not like them because they had odd door controls that were hard to work. Last ones were at Nortn Shore on school trippers.

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This is the current "official list" from PACE, from April 2012:

1-7 2000 Chance AH28

2102,2128 1990 BIA 01.508

2272,2274,2276-2285,2288,2290,2291 1992 BIA 01.507

2292,2297,2314,2317,2318,2323,2328,2330,2332-2334,2337,2338,2345,2349,2350,2354,2368,2372 1993 BIA 01.508

2401,2405,2406,2409-2411,2415-2417,2420-2422 1999 NABI 040.04

2423-2450,2452 1999 NABI 035.02

2600 2006 EDN EZII

2601-2612,2614-2702 2007 EDN EZII

2703-2712,2714-2741 2008 EDN EZII

2742-2766 2009 EDN EZII

2767-2812,2814-2825 2010 EDN EZII

2826-2829 2011 EDN EZII

2830-2831 2011 OBI 07.502

5736,5738-5746 2010 EDN Aerolite

6000-6012,6014-6039,6041-6046,6048-6088 2000 OBI 06.501

6089-6112,6114-6155 2001 OBI 06.501

6156-6161 2004 OBI 06.501

6162-6172,6174-6212,6214-6261 2003 NABI 040.28

6262-6312,6314-6322 2005 NABI 040.28

6600-6612,6614-6684 2003 NABI 035.05

6900-6907 2002 MCI D4000

6910 1997 MCI 102DL3

6911-6912 1998 MCI 102DL3

6914 1999 MCI 102DL3

6915 2000 MCI 102DL3

6916 1999 MCI 102DL3

6917 1998 MCI 102DL3

6918-6919 1997 MCI 102DL3

8902,8903,8906,8914,8918,8920,8921,8923 1989 BIA 01.508

Note that the 10 1989-90 Orions are used ONLY for Ravinia Park Shuttle service in Highland Park, which is where traditionally PACE's oldest buses have been used!

The 5700 series Aerolites are for route 895 only, 6900-6907 for 855, 6910-6919 for 877 and 888 only.

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  • 6 months later...

New buses rolling on PACE routes


The 40-foot-long vehicles cost $400,000 each and are the initial part of a 69-bus order that Pace will receive in full by spring. Because of the stainless steel frames and fiberglass body panels, the new buses won't rust and the exterior panels can be replaced if damaged, Pace spokesman Patrick Wilmot said.

The buses are being built by ElDorado National of Riverside, Calif.

Pace has contracted with the company to supply up to 416 buses through 2016 at cost of just less than $168 million. ElDorado was the low bidder on the contract.


This is an order of AXess buses! Rather unusual.

Photo of 6323 from BusCon here:


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Article with all of the info you'd want to know about new CNG Axess buses for PACE:

"Pace is getting ready to add brand-new buses to its fleet, and riders from south and northwestern suburbs will be the first to benefit.

One difference the riders will notice right away is that the roofs are taller and thicker. That’s because they will be the first buses in Pace’s fleet to use natural gas, and the tanks are located on the top. The buses will be quieter and less polluting, and they will benefit from a sturdier stainless steel frame.

Under the contract with the manufacturer, Pace can order up to 250 buses, at the cost of $479,454 per bus. The number of buses the agency will actually buy will depend on its needs and available funding. The first batch of buses will be delivered by mid-2015, but they won’t go into service until Pace finishes building the infrastructure necessary to fuel them.

According to Pace spokesman Patrick Wilmot, the newest batch of buses is being built by Riverside, California based Eldorado National — the same company that built the 30-foot and 40-foot buses Pace put into service five years ago, as well as the current Niles Free Bus fleet. Because of this, the new buses will have the interiors similar to what riders are used to. That includes metallic hanging straps that automatically snap up when the rider isn’t holding them and aisle-facing seats in the front third of the bus that fold upward to make room for wheelchairs.

The biggest difference from any other buses in the fleet will be the fuel source — compressed natural gas instead of the diesel Pace has traditionally used.

The first 91 buses will go to Pace’s South Division, which includes bus routes throughout South Cook County and DuPage county.

Pace plans to send the second batch of new buses to the Northwest Division, which includes routes in Lincolnwood, Skokie, Niles, Morton Grove, Park Ridge, Norridge, Des Plaines and other northwest suburbs."

link: http://norridge.suntimes.com/2014/10/15/new-pace-buses-coming-northwest-suburbs/

There are three great photos of #15500 at the link!

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  • 2 weeks later...

So at least another year to get the VI's in PACE land.

If so, ordering from ElDorado takes a while from their deliveries, so you still have a chance to see the Pace Orion VI in service! You still have 350 left, if not less now.

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If so, ordering from ElDorado takes a while from their deliveries, so you still have a chance to see the Pace Orion VI in service! You still have 350 left, if not less now.

Hmm, so I wonder if Eldorado were to expand their production capacity to get a shorter order completion time if that would help them compete with Gillig and NFI?

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  • 1 year later...

As of 5/16, still many Orion 6's in service. In fact, Southwest Division has only 6's for large buses (otherwise they have a few EZ Rider II's). Rare now at Northwest, some still at West. 6156-6161 have been stickered blue. Most yellow 61-6200 and 6600 NABI's now stickered, in fact only non-stickered ones are a few 6600's. However, stickers are starting to peel around the edges. Also, at first, they tried stickering ads over the blue stickers, but now sense has prevailed and adracks are being put on. Sorry to say this, but what they saved by stickering instead of painting they are going to waste as these stickers are not going to last long AT ALL.

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Hi! All of my encounters with PACE (6-county bus system of suburban Chicago, under the umbrella of the Regional Transportation Authority) are more or less associated with flying out of Chicago's two main airports:

  • 3 times between 2014 and 2016 at the O'Hare Kiss-n-Fly Airport Transit System (ATS) station.
  • Once in Summer 2016 just before catching my return flight from Midway International to Memphis, at the Midway Orange Line CTA station.
  • Once in April 2018 during a long layover between flights from Hong Kong and to Memphis, at the Jefferson Park and Rosemont Blue Line CTA stations.

Onto the pictures, Orion VI bus 6149 new in 2001 was pictured in Spring 2014 at the aforementioned ATS station.  It, sister bus 6142 and 2000 bus 6074 are the only buses in my gallery to feature the old yellow stripe on white livery.  Meanwhile, bus 6087 new in 2000 was the penultimate bus of its batch.  It was pictured at Midway CTA station.  Finally buses 6156 and 6160 were the first and next-to-last buses from a batch of 6 built in 2002, but only delivered in 2004. They were therefore the final Orion VI's delivered to a US transit property.  Members of this batch received blue wraps to match the latest PACE livery but lacked some of the graphics.  All but 6159 and 6161 are featured in my gallery, and all were pictured at Midway CTA station.  PACE was by far the largest US operator of the Orion VI at 160 buses, and they were extremely resilient buses by current US standards, retiring only in 2018 at 17 years old.


While PACE also amassed a sizable fleet of NABI LFW family of buses (182 X 40-LFW's and 114 X 35 LFW's between 1998 and 2005), I was only able to picture 2005 bus 6303 at Rosemont CTA station, as ElDorado National has already become the dominant brand of bus for PACE by 2018.  Also, the NABI's operate largely outside the territories closest to the main airports.


When ElDorado National became a favorite brand for PACE, it has amassed a fleet of 227 EZ-Rider II 30/32ft. buses (102 X 2006 buses, 38 X 2007, 25 X 2009, 58 X 2010 and 3 X 2011 BRT 32ft. buses).  However, the only buses I was able to spot were members from the 2010 batch as exemplified by buses 2774 at Rosemont and 2823 at Midway CTA stations.  They are otherwise largely assigned to collar county (DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties) duties.


The Axcess BRT 40ft. buses are now the new workhorses of PACE's fleet, with a fleet totalling 356 buses to this date (236 diesel buses and 120 CNG buses).  All of the examples I had spotted were diesel buses. Buses 6335 pictured at Rosemont CTA station and 6357 at the O'Hare Kiss-n-Fly ATS station were both from the pioneering 2012-13 batch.  Meanwhile, bus 6400 pictured at Rosemont CTA station is the final 2013 bus and bus 6429 is a 2014 bus pictured at Jefferson Park CTA station.  Finally pictures for regular transit-specification buses were 2015 buses 6439 and 6471 pictured at Rosemont CTA station.  Note the difference between the tail signs between the 2013 buses and the later examples.  (The 2013 buses like 6357 carries a rear route number sign only, while later buses like 6471 carry a elongated tail sign that contain both route number and destination)


PACE also operates a significant fleet of suburban-style Axcess BRT's with bonded windows and a single one-piece plug door.  Bus 6377 was new in 2013 and lacked any route-branding graphics, while 2016 buses 6488 and 6501 both carry dedicated graphics for the I-90 corridor express bus routes.  All were pictured at Rosemont CTA station.


Finally, some 2016 buses feature a combination of bonded windows and two transit-style folding doors.  They were presumed to be the intended buses for the Milwaukee Avenue PULSE BRT line.  Exemplified by buses 6512 and 6516, they were both pictured on the presumed precursor route for this BRT line (route 270) near Jefferson Park CTA station.


Here is my PACE gallery:

PACE Suburban Bus

Edited by Buzz2kb
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  • 11 months later...

There are some pictures of the just arrived New Flyer XD40s on Chicago Transit Forums. West Division is getting 75 buses to replace some early/mid 2000s NABI 40-LFWs. An option for 10 more buses was exercised, but it is not clear if they will be going to West Division or somewhere else.

Here is a link to the page where other members have posted pictures and videos of the buses in service: https://chitransit.org/topic/4245-pace-new-flyer-buses/page/6/?tab=comments#comment-110837

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