Free transit rides end for some Chicago seniors
Chicago’s low-income seniors who don’t meet the requirements of Illinois’ Circuit Breaker program will no longer ride free on Chicago Transit Authority, Metra and Pace public transit. Beginning Thursday, all other seniors will ride at a reduced rate with a valid Regional Transportation Authority Reduce Fare Permit.
The Circuit Breaker program provides grants to senior citizens and persons with disabilities to help them reduce the impact of taxes and prescription medications on their lives. The free rides program was originally in a transit bailout act by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich in 2008.
Although Chicago’s seniors have been warned of the changes for months, on Thursday an army of CTA and RTA personnel were located at specific transit stations to help seniors who now have to pay. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the RTA says it has mailed more than 80,000 Circuit Ride Free permits to seniors and approximately 336,000 Reduced Fare permits.
— Glenn Swain