No more free ride for Chicago seniors

September 1 marked the end of Chicago’s controversial seniors-ride-free program, and the transition was a little bumpy. Starting Thursday, most seniors were required to use new reduced-fare permits on the Chicago Transit Authority, Metra, and Pace Suburban Bus. The Regional Transportation Authority (IL) also mailed more than 80,000 Ciricuit Ride Free cards to low-income seniors which will enable them to continue riding transit fare-free. ride transit without paying fares. Despite months of announcements from the RTA, regional drivers and conductors allowed passengers a brief reprieve yesterday because they did not have their new half-fare ID cards or did not know how to use them. “I grew up here. I’ve always used public transportation,” a 91-year-old rider told the Chicago Tribune. “Now, all of a sudden, when I am so much older…it’s changing. It’s all a little confusing.” The informal grace period will run through next week, although no one is saying how long it will last. Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich introduced free fares for seniors in 2008. Link to full story in Chicago Tribune.

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