Several thousand airline employees and other workers at O'Hare International Airport are being allowed to board CTA Blue Line trains at the airport rail station for free through July 12 because of a delay in distributing special transit cards, officials said Wednesday.
The cards, which were to be issued to about 5,000 workers by July 1 under a deadline set six months ago, would exempt the workers from a $2.75 surcharge that raised the fare to $5, officials said Wednesday.
The CTA provided about 2,000 blank transit cards in late June to the city's Aviation Department, But an additional 3,000 cards had been requested, official said.
Because not all workers got the cards, the decision to temporarily waive fares for employees who show an airport-issued identification badge or an employer-issued ID card was made by the CTA and the Chicago Department of Aviation, officials said.
CTA officials are asking employees who did receive the new transit cards to use them and pay the $2.25 fare, CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said. But nothing stops employees from showing their airport ID badges instead and riding for free through July 12.
The free rides started during Wednesday evening's rush period, transit officials said.
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