The end of free rides for all senior citizens comes Thursday. And problems with the new reduced-fare program are already coming to the surface. They include:
- Lack of instructions on how to use the reduced-fare card. "How the devil do these cards work?" said Rita Shafer in a Tribune story. "Nothing in the totally useless information provided (by the RTA) tells one how to put money on the card."
- Poor communications about the upcoming changes. "As these situations sometimes unfold, not every senior may have gotten the word," Claypool said at a news conference at the Red Line Cermak/Chinatown station.
- Few places to add value to the magnetic strip cards, especially for the vast majority of seniors who will be riding buses. Value can only added at rail station vending machines.
- The decision not to let seniors use smart fare cards with stored value that can be added via a credit card. The CTA said it doesn't have enough smart cards in inventory to offer them to seniors.
Read the CTA's guide to paying fares with a senior reduced fare permit.
And check out the video the RTA produced on how to use the reduced fare card. It's 11-minutes long, and one wag commented on the site:
"THIS IS FAR TOO COMPLICATED....AND I HAVE AN MBA ! CONDOLENCES TO BUS DRIVERS ON A SNOWY DAY WHO HAVE TO EXPLAIN IT TO 10 SENIORS BOARDING AT ONE TIME ! THERE EXITS ANY BUS SCHEDULE ! POX ON QUINN WHO PROMISED ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL THAT HE WOULD NOT RESCIND THE FREE RIDES !"