Limit on senior free rides passes House; Red Line attack charges upgraded to hate crime

OK, so maybe I was wrong.

I wrote earlier this month that I didn't think the bill to limit free rides to seniors who pass a means test would pass because the state Legislature didn't have the political will in an election year.

Well, the Illinois House does have the political will, passing the bill Wednesday by a wide margin 83-27. The RTA suggests it could mean nearly $25 million for the CTA -- about a quarter of what it needs to restore all the service cuts.

The future is not so bright in the Senate, where good ol' Sen. Rickey Hendon from Chicago is vowing to work to defeat the bill. The Sun-Times reports:

"Senior citizens have paid more taxes than anyone else -- they
deserve more consideration," Hendon said. "We're underestimating the
amount of money generated by the seniors out there in the restaurants
and in the stores spending that money because they had the opportunity
to ride free."

The report by the University of Illinois at Chicago found that
nearly a third of seniors who use free rides earn more than $55,000.

I know Martha says her dad is somewhat embarrassed to be using the free rides card. We'll have to see how this plays out.

Three charges with hate crime in Red Line attack. Good stuff. Glad the judge saw the light. (Straight up copy/paste from the Tribune):

Three Evanston men who allegedly shouted anti-gay slurs as they beat a good Samaritan
trying to stop them from bullying another CTA Red Line rider now face
felony hate crime and aggravated battery charges.

Kevin McAndrew and Benjamin Eder, both 23, and Sean Little, 21, were
originally charged with misdemeanor battery after the January incident.

But
prosecutors said they upgraded the charges after learning of the
circumstances of the attack that left the victim with a bloody nose and
cuts and bruises on his face.

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  • I'm so proud of my Pappy. He got himself a Chicago Card Plus, pays for his outbound trip and then uses the free ride card on the way back therefore reestablishing his own reduced fare system. He still rides free on Metra because they won't take a ticket from him.

  • Good for your dad. Most of the seniors I know were happy with the reduced fares and didn't want the free ride--though they've had it long enough they've forgotten all about not wanting the free rides and now they don't want them taken away.

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