Office Midwest

New sustainable bus fleet initiative hits the road next month in Chicago

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Pictured, from left to right: Brian Whiting, The Telos Group; Bryan Oyster, JLL; Sean Wiedel, City of Chicago Department of Transportation; and Matt Horton, Proterra

The program, which is supported by the City of Chicago’s federally funded Drive Clean Chicago program, will replace eight existing diesel buses with 10 zero-emission electric buses, leased from Proterra, the world’s leading innovator in heavy-duty electric transportation.

New York-based private real estate investment company, 601W Companies, owner of both Prudential Plaza and Aon Center in Chicago, has introduced a new tenant shuttle service that will become the first privately-run, 100 percent zero-emission electric bus fleet in the country.

The shuttle service will run 82 daily routes between Prudential Plaza and Aon Center in the East Loop and the major Metra railway terminals at Ogilvie Transportation Center, Union Station and LaSalle Street Station.

The program, which is supported by the City of Chicago’s federally funded Drive Clean Chicago program, will replace eight existing diesel buses with 10 zero-emission electric buses, leased from Proterra, the world’s leading innovator in heavy-duty electric transportation.

The shuttles will provide approximately 35,000 rides monthly to individuals who work in the two buildings. The buses will significantly reduce environmental impact from the diesel buses, contributing to Aon Center’s and Prudential Plaza’s LEED certifications.

Prudential Plaza recently completed an $80-million redevelopment designed to attract a more modern workforce. Now Aon Center, too, is scheduled for a similar transformation scheduled to begin in 2017.

“Progressive work environments, sustainable design, and clean energy-efficient transport are all drivers in today’s tenant location decision-making process,” observed Brian Whiting of The Telos Group LLC, who leads the marketing and leasing teams for both buildings. “By making this investment in clean transportation, 601W Companies is once again re-inventing iconic buildings to better meet the needs of today’s workforce.”

The new fleet will begin service in December 2016 and be available exclusively to tenants of both buildings. Rebranded as The Fleet, the buses are cleaner and quieter in traffic than the diesel buses they will be replacing, providing a better experience for the riders and community alike.

Inside, the buses feature luxury interiors complete with WiFi and GPS tracking to allow riders to track buses from the Fleet mobile app.  Outside, the buses feature creative and colorful- exterior bus wraps that will play to the Fleet’s nautical theme.

The initiative is funded in part by Drive Clean Chicago, an incentive program from the City of Chicago aimed at creating a greater alternative fuel transportation network for the city’s commuters.

“Creating greener transportation options and cleaner air for all Chicagoans are key pillars of the City of Chicago’s sustainability goals,” CDOT Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld said. “This zero-emission fleet is exactly the type of progress we intend to create through Drive Clean Chicago. We look forward to seeing how other fleets respond to the precedent this sets.”

JLL, the property manager for both buildings, will implement the new service on behalf of the 601W Companies. Additionally, the firm’s global headquarters is one of the anchor tenants in Aon Center, so many of the firm’s employees ride the shuttles every day.

“Along with 601W Companies and Telos, we are very proud of this partnership between the public and private sectors that allows us to be the first privately-owned fleet of electric buses in the United States. The new fleet will provide better service, quicker trips and the added benefit of cleaner air. That aligns with our company values, as well as the needs of these two prominent Chicago buildings,” said Bryan Oyster, General Manager of Prudential Plaza for JLL.

The service will serve two iconic landmarks of Chicago’s downtown skyline, Prudential Plaza and Aon Center, which is the fifth tallest skyscraper in the U.S. The buildings are home to a prestigious tenant roster, including the headquarters of Aon, Kraft Heinz, Wilson Sporting Goods Co. and JLL.

Located within close proximity to many of Chicago's premier cultural institutions, the building’s employees enjoy easy access to Millennium Park, the Art Institute of Chicago, Navy Pier and Chicago’s fabled lakefront.