The end is now in sight: Senior citizens will no longer be taking a Free Ride as of Sept. 1, despite Edgar Winter's exhortations.
At least, most seniors no longer will be benefiting from the charity of disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich - unless they qualify for the state's Circuit Breaker program.
The Regional Transportation Authority announced Wednesday that free-ride passes would no longer be accepted on the CTA, Metra or Pace transit systems starting Sept. 1. The state Legislature formally ended Blago's free-ride gift to seniors early this year.
Seniors who qualify for the state's Circuit Breaker
aid program will continue to ride free after Sept. 1, while all others would pay half
price. Here are the income limits for the Circuit Breaker program:
- $27,610 for a household of one.
- $36,635 for a household of two.
- $45,657 for a household of three.
All three agencies stand to gain at least $30 million a year more in fare dollars with the change, the Tribune reported. About 25,000 out of 440,000 who registered for free rides are estimated to qualify for free rides under the Circuit Breaker program.
Through March of this year, free rides totaled 17.1 million on the CTA, according to the most recent financial report. There were 76 million free rides last year. Turning those free rides into cash should help Forrest Claypool a little bit on his 2012 budget.
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